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A changing view

Change is in progress at the intersection of Green Street and First Avenue.

On Thursday, residents of the handful of houses that end at a side fence and surround Concordia College planted flowers in an ongoing effort to change the look and feel of the area.

“We’re trying to beautify every empty lot in this neighborhood with a garden or a beautification cornerstone,” said project captain Velma Brewer. “We try to keep the lots clean so that the elderly people in this district won’t be afraid to come out of their homes.”

The beautification effort began when Rachel Foreman arrived from Seward, Neb., a few months earlier. Her husband, Ray, was transferred from Concordia’s Nebraska branch to Selma.

“We just noticed when we moved here that there are a lot of things people don’t take care of and take for granted,” said Foreman. “I got with Velma here, and she’s a worker. We got together and decided what needed to be fixed up and down our street and just started from there.”

Their projects include the planting of a neighborhood garden and decoration of a corner at Concordia. They also weeded out an adjacent vacant lot, planted in a lot cleared out by the city and trimmed another to convert it to a field.

“It’s beautiful. The children can play ball in it,” said Brewer. “We need more areas like this for this district over here so the children can have something to do.”

Supplies and costs have come from the pockets of the workers. Thursday’s flower planting was the group’s last project on the street, but it hopes its efforts will spark similar projects from Franklin to Marie Foster and Highland to First Avenue.

Despite the progress, Brewer sees more work is needed, pointing out two nearby abandoned houses.

“We’ve got two eyesores over there,” said Brewer. “We appreciate any assistance from other members of the neighborhood.”

The project isn’t limited to neighborhood residents. Foreman’s father, Vern Kratohvil, paid a visit this week, and she put him to work on Thursday.

“He’s noticed the difference, too,” said Foreman.