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In Black Mountain, I'm probably one of the few people who enjoys sitting at red traffic lights. It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts and to look around town.

Let me tell you that change is happening in our town and for the good. If you haven't noticed, sit back in your chair and let me give you a virtual spin around town.

Let's start on the south side at the intersection of I-40 and N.C. 9. Last year, a new Black Mountain welcome sign was installed all bright and shining, but the landscape was in need of a mini makeover. As a homeowner, this always seems to be a common theme.

The Black Mountain Beautification Committee was up for the challenge. Members Carl and Pat Reichenbach came up with a pleasing landscape design, to include edging around the sign, installation of a weed mat, and placing river rock neatly around the sign.

A dry creek bank was installed to give the rain water a place to flow through to the storm drain. They and other members tackled this project during the dog days of August. While working, people would wave and honk their horns in appreciation. A friendly passerby, even brought them cheeseburgers and sweet tea. Only in Black Mountain.

Moving right along to Sutton Avenue and N.C. 9, check out the garden site on the side wall of Henson's building. Beautification members, Brenda Whitekarand Rosemary Dietrick, caretakers for this garden site, wanted to add some pleasing upgrades to draw attention to the building.

Jeff Seitz owner of Appalachian Creek Nursery kindly sketched a landscape design for the garden site. With Henson's donating the wood, members John and Gail built and installed three trellises that now hold the flowering vines that are racing up to the top rung. The newly planted flowering perennials, herbs and vines are showing their peak colors and look happy in their new home. With this site being so close to the road, drivers would often slow down and give them encouragement for a job well done.

Turning left on Sutton Avenue and slowly driving up to the intersection of West State Street, look on your right to view the stunning mural of the North Fork Reservoir. One of our part-time residents, David Nelson Collins, volunteered his time to create this mural.

It is a scene taken from the beautiful photograph called The Reservoir taken by Wendell Begley, president of the Black Mountain Savings Bank. Clearly David is a talented artist and we are looking forward to seeing the new dimensions taking shape to this scene.

Our last stop will be at Town Square which is on the corner of West State Street and N.C. 9. As the landscape gives way to the fall colors, the stunning red Japanese maple can be seen in the background as the leaves are twisting and turning in the rustling breeze.

The tree was planted in memory of Willie Headley and the color of the leaves is to remind us of her beautiful red hair. Willie worked tirelessly for the betterment of Black Mountain, including an early vision for Town Square for all to enjoy this open green space. Her vision came true as this square has given us countless memories of watching kids cool off in the water pad, rocking out on those fun oversized rockers, and enjoying a walk with family and friends through the square.

Now that our virtual tour is complete, the next time you are driving around Black Mountain take advantage of those red lights and appreciate what has been created by others to enrich your life.

Lyndall Noyes-Brownell proudly serves as co-chair for Black Mountain Beautification Committee, an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer of Buncombe County and chair of Black Mountain Blooms Seed Lending Library. She is the webmaster for blackmountainbeautification.org and cares for plant containers in downtown Black Mountain.

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