The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 18, 2013

Group to make dreams come true

Keep Vermilion County Beautiful plans $5,000 raffle

DANVILLE — With the possibility of snow in the forecast this week, most people aren’t thinking about yard work.

However, now might be the time to daydream: How would you improve your yard if you had $5,000?

For the first time, Keep Vermilion County Beautiful is having a landscaping raffle, with one lucky winner receiving that amount (or the winner can take $4,000 in cash).

“This is the most unique fund-raising idea we came up with,” said Jason Toellner, president of the Keep Vermilion County Beautiful board.

Last year’s drought hurt so many people’s yards that he came up with the idea of using the raffle to improve someone’s property. “We decided to do something fun that tied together with people’s lawns,” he said.

If you are the winner and you don’t know what to do with your yard, Shelly Larson, superintendent of community improvements with the city of Danville, will provide consultation. She has experience in flower and shrub planting and even in establishing rain gardens. Her handiwork can be seen in downtown Danville’s landscaping.

Tickets are on sale for the $5,000 Landscaping Makeover. Proceeds from that raffle go to the Beautiful Grants program, which helps communities.

Only 600 tickets will be sold; tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Whoever sells the winning ticket will get $250.

Also, there will be prizes from Berry’s Garden Center, Danville Gardens and Sully Schultz Nursery, and other local businesses are making donations.

Drawing will be from noon to 1 p.m. May 4 at the Danville Public Library parking lot during the Great American Cleanup. You need not be present to win.

Toellner encouraged people to buy tickets, noting that the proceeds go back into the community in the form of grants. Besides, he said, a clean community helps attracts businesses.

“It’s a win-win-win situation,” he said.

Larson said everyone she’s sold tickets to has purchased one with the goal of winning a landscaping makeover, rather than the cash. That amount of money would go a long way toward improving someone’s yard, she said.

Larson said she would be available to assess the winner’s property, and determine what needs to be done.

Lynn Wolgamot, executive director of Keep Vermilion County Beautiful, said the group has held raffles in past years, with an energy-efficient car being given away.

Grants available

After the winners have been paid from the Landscaping Makeover, proceeds go into the Beautiful Grants program. Since 2006, the program has provided $151,000 in small grants (from $500 to $100) to 151 projects around Vermilion County, Wolgamot said.

Applications are being accepted from groups and individuals for community projects. Civic groups and teachers have applied for and received grants for their parks and schools in the past.

The grants are small, but Wolgamot said, “Every little bit helps. It doesn’t take that much money for flowers.”

Grant recipients can apply each year for money to expand or maintain their projects.

Grants are available on the KVCB website at or by calling 431-2877. Forms can be e-mailed, faxed or mailed, or people may pick them up at the Vermilion County Health Department, 200 S. College.

Grants are due April 30, and money will be paid out around May 15.

Winners must become KVCB members. Past winners are welcome to apply. For more information, call Wolgamot at 431-2877.

These communities have benefited from KVCB Beautification Grants: Belgium, Bismarck, Catlin, Danville, Fairmount, Fithian, Georgetown, Hoopeston, Love Township, Georgetown Township, Muncie, Oakwood schools, Potomac, Rankin, Ridge Farm, Elmwood Township, Rossville schools, Sidell, Tilton, Vermilion County Conservation District and Westville.

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