(originally published 4-26-12)
by June Conner
It doesn’t take long when you talk to Jack Fearneyhough to know why Project Tiger Pride was such a success. His positive thinking, endless energy, and his love for Beardstown sticks out all over. He won’t take the credit for the great accomplishment, but he’s eager to say that this is the first annual event.
It wasn’t any secret that the school needed some trees. It wasn’t any secret that money is tight. With the help of Project Tiger Pride, a project that would have cost nearly $150,000 if bid, was accomplished from local donations of $23,000.
Jack said,”The building’s budget was exhausted. All the money went into more footage, not landscaping.”
The organized effort began last fall according to Fearneyhough.
“I went to the Beardstown School Board in January and asked for $5,000, their investment to take part ownership of the project.” said Fearneyhough, “Then I asked the Lion’s Club to be an anchor service organization and they donated $3,000. The Kiwanis Club took charge of soliciting remaining organizations. In addition to the organization and individual donations, the City of Beardstown contributed $10,000 in Tax Increment Finance funds. All I had was an idea, but it was Kevin and Chris Massie with their expertise that created the landscaping plan.”
Nearly 400 volunteers of all ages participated Saturday morning. One hundred twenty trees, about two and a half to three inches in diameter, along with 200 shrubs and flowers from the school’s greenhouse were planted.
Fearneyhough said,”It was such a diverse group of people and students. It was so neat to see them all come together. The weather was good. The grass was dry. There were no bugs. We did this for us, by us. It was fun.”
A project that Fearneyhough says will be done soon by a few volunteers will be to put in an irrigation system around the school. He said that the project wouldn’t be that much and it would benefit the trees and the grass at the school.
Jack said, “I will take all the feedback so we can do it better next time. We need to hear your project ideas.”
There are still some trees that are available for memorials. A $300 donation will get a tree marked with a granite stone.
Ideas for projects for the future are also being sought by Fearneyhough.
He said,”People take rightful pride in community. We have it here.”