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  • Where "The Flower Box City" originated from 

    Neosho’s fame as “The Flower Box City” took root in 1955 when the town applied for and received a $5,000 grant from The New York Community Trust for a civic beautification project. Local companies provided lumber at cost, and Junior Chamber of Commerce members formed an assembly line to build more than 200 wooden flower boxes. Pet Milk Co. donated 400 used, wooden barrels for container gardens, and town nurseries supplied plants at reduced rates. The town even gussied up trash cans and parking meters around the square with flower baskets.

    The all-out blooming effort earned Neosho a coveted All-America City Award from Look Magazine and the National Municipal League in 1957.

    Fast forward to 2001, Neosho’s floral tradition was revitalized when a dusty file with plans for a giant flower box were uncovered, while cleaning the basement of the Chamber of Commerce office.  The idea, which had been shelved 20 years earlier because the town couldn’t obtain a railroad car, was taken before the Flower Box Committee and given a thumbs up.

    From there the community began coming together to make this project a reality. The Kansas City Southern Railroad donated a retired car, which is 66 feet long and eight feet wide. It has a volume of 250 cubic yards and weighs about 25 tons.

    Businesses donated paint, truckloads of dirt and compost, and cooked hot dogs for those attending “Bag of Dirt Day” where citizens were encouraged to each bring a bag of dirt to help fill the train car. This was a replica from the original "Dirt Day" that was done back in the '50's. Students from Crowder College sandblasted and painted the train car forest green. Artist Mark Hollandsworth painted the sign for the planter: “Welcome to Historic Neosho. Home of the World’s Largest Flower Box.”  The "World's Largest Flower Box" stood as a sign of what could happen when a community worked together for a common cause.

      

     


    As you can see above, 18 years later, the flower box was in need of some TLC. Many of the people that were passionate about the project had moved on and the history of "The Flower Box City" seemed to be dwindling. The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce decided to #BringBackTheBloom and began a campaign in 2019 to revitalize the town's status as the Flower Box City."This is a project that is near and dear to my heart," said Lauri Lyerla, Executive Director of the Neosho Area Chamber, "I remember as a little girl growing up on the Neosho square, lugging a bucket and a cup out daily to water our flowers in front of my family's business."

    Several projects began to take place as part of the #BringBackTheBloom initiative and once again, the Neosho community rallied together to support. We began to see organizations doing fundraisers to do projects as part of the initiative. Chamber Members were thinking outside the box on ways they could be a part of #BringingBackTheBloom in their workplace. We had members who donated items to be raffled off to raise funds and those who had lived in Neosho years ago who just wanted to send a monetary donation because they loved what they were seeing on social media. Our social media reach and interaction skyrocketed, peaking at just over 150,000 people. We started seeing neighbors helping neighbors and businesses taking just as much pride in their outer appearance as they did their products inside. Beautification has sprung up all over town and Neosho is truly living up to it's name "The Flower Box City" and we look forward to continuing to expand the program. As you can see in our video, the before and after pictures are pretty incredible! We love what can be accomplished when a town is inspired to "Dream Big" and work together! 

  • Check out our before and after video! 

     

  • #BringBackTheBloom Downtown Flower Baskets

    A local manufacturing industry designed, created and donated 66 large flower baskets to be attached to local lamp posts Downtown. The baskets were all sponsored within a matter of a couple days by businesses, community members and in honor of residents both near and far. This sponsorship will help with the ongoing costs of the baskets each year. Many local business professionals came out in April for the "Raising of the Baskets" to help install them on the lamp posts. Downtown was flooded with professionals in suits and ties with their socket wrenches tightening the bolts to attach to poles.

        

    The flowers that were planted this year were paid for in part by a grant written and received from the Neosho High School FFA. They were instrumental in working with local greenhouses and gardeners researching the best flowers for the baskets and then were also on the planting team. The planting team also consisted of the Leadership Group from Neosho Junior High and several of our Chamber Members. The baskets are maintained daily through a grant received by the local Wal-Mart store, which pays for Adult & Teen Challenge of the Four-States to water them. Adult & Teen Challenge is a local non-profit group that helps men who are overcoming alcohol and drug addictions. These men are seen daily out watering and tending to the flowers Downtown. 

        

       

    #BringBackTheBloom Revitalization of Big Flower Box

    The huge vision to revitalize the "World's Largest Flower Box" began in January at the Chamber Board Retreat. 2019 marked the 70th Anniversary of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and revitalizing the large flower box seemed like a perfect fit. For the past 18 years, visitors who arrive to Neosho via U.S. Highway 60 have been greeted by the World’s Largest Flowerbox, located on North College Street and now part of Morse Park North. The Chamber of Commerce along with a number of local citizens and area businesses spent the early spring season refurbishing the World’s Largest Flowerbox. Members of the Chamber Board of Directors came out to help on a Board Work Day. 

       

          

    This project was led by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, but would not have been possible without the help of so many. The community effort was amazing with people coming to help shovel dirt, donating equipment rentals, plant flowers and truly giving of their time, talent or treasure. With the help of Hillside Gardens and Landscaping, who designed the project and many community members, the World’s Largest Flowerbox is more beautiful than ever. 

      

      

    #BringBackTheBloom Adopt-a-Flower Box 

    As flowers began to pop up all over town, there were places that we began to notice may not have anyone to take care of. These flowerbeds were placed on the "adoptable flowerbed" list for community members who want to lend a helping hand. Homes resided by elderly citizens, vacant buildings and empty lots began to be manicured and planted with flowers. 

         

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    "Bloom Festival" Carver Elementary 2nd Grade

    With a desire to be a part of the #BringBackTheBloom, a local elementary school asked us to come and talk to their students about what it takes to run a business, from marketing to a business plan. Their "Bloom Market & Festival" was completely student-driven and allowed the 2nd graders to take ownership in what was being done. This Farmer's Market type project ended in a huge festival celebration, in which the community was invited. The entire second grade class decided what plants to grow, starting from seeds. But it doesn’t just teach kids basic science. They also needed to think in terms of math for the market.  Plants weren't the only things that were for sale at the Market. They sold painted rocks, for 50 cents so that’s a whole different ballgame for math skills than just whole dollars. The students also used writing skills for advertising and communication skills for homemade commercials. They held a very successful "Bloom Festival" and plan on making this an annual event. Some of the profits made from the Festival were used to sponsor a Downtown flower basket and they even donated $200 towards the renovation of our big Flower Box. The rest of the proceeds are planned on being used to build their own flowerbed around their school building's digital sign.  

     

         

    #BringBackTheBloom Earth Day 

    Justin Carnahan, Neosho Chamber Vice President, came up with the idea to help the younger generation start understanding what the "Flower Box City" really meant and how they could play a role in the future. He organized the 2019 #BringBackTheBloom Earth Day Celebration at a local park. “To come out here to plant all different sorts of flowers that have been donated by Walmart and we’re working with that in conjunction with the Chamber’s goal to revitalize Neosho’s image as the Flower Box City,” Carnahan says.  “It’s an important thing for us to get these kids involved at a very young age, to have community and civic pride and so that’s what we’re working on here today.”

    Here’s how the flower repopulating project works: students went through a line to pick up a cup, fill it with potting soil, pick seeds of the flowers of their choice, plant them into the soil and then add water. And once they start growing, plant them anywhere they choose.

    Several local organizations helped to put on this event and came out to talk with the 2nd graders including; the Master Gardeners, the Southwest Missouri Beekeepers Association, and George Washington Carver National Monument. Wal-Mart donated 1,600 seed packets for every elementary school student in the Neosho School District. 

      

    Beauty Spot of the Week 

    As flowers began to bloom, our Beauty Spot of the Week awards started rolling out. These awards are presented to businesses and residences that are exceptionally beautiful. We have found that when you have a flower box on your porch, you take more pride in the exterior of your home. This in turn, makes you take more pride in the community that you live in. The snowball effect has taken place in Neosho and these are just a few of honorees that we have had the privilege of awarding. 

        

    Other Community #BringBackTheBloom Projects 

    Flower Baskets were made, painted, planted and placed around town. These baskets below are from Carver Elementary School.  

        

     

    Second graders from Central Elementary showed up to assist our Parks Department #BringBackTheBloom by cleaning the pool, pulling weeds and picking up trash in the park.

        

     

    #BringBackTheBloom Member Donations/Fundraisers

    We have had so many of our members think how they could use their time, talent and treasure to be a part of the #BringBackTheBloom initiative. This has resulted in member product donations for raffles, one of our local boutiques making customized shirts, product donations for the projects involved, and even a custom-made flower box for our office sign. We had no idea that the community support would be so great with this project but it gives us great pride to know that Neosho is living up to it's name, "The Flower Box City" and we will continue to work with our community, members, school district and businesses to grow this each year. 

        

          

    #BringBackTheBloom Long Table Dinner

    We hosted well-known, gardener P. Allen Smith for our #BringBackTheBloom Long Table Dinner Fundraiser. Part of Mr. Smith’s life mission is to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for design and beauty.  His generosity of spirit has produced volumes of accessible work for the public. To date, he is the author of six best-selling books, host and producer of one of PBS’s most successful and award-winning television shows, he runs a media enterprise focused on garden design and health, he is a speaker at many of the country’s important architectural and historic homes and opens his own home to the public each Spring and Fall.  Mr. Smith’s work has been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Architectural Digest, People Magazine, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Southern Living, Southern Accents, Flower Magazine and over 100 additional publication titles.

    The 2019 Bring Back The Bloom Long Table Event was a beautiful evening that highlighted the success of the initiative and also helped raise funds to continue future projects. The event was held at Hidden Grace Event Center and attendees were encouraged not only reminder about the importance of their role in beautification but also encouraged to dream about future projects. 

     

          

  • Click below to see how #BringBackTheBloom made the news! 

                           

     

     

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