Appearance Matters: Polk Appearance Commission progress report: litter, kudzu, dark skies

Published 10:00 pm Friday, March 31, 2017

With our commitment to a clean, beautiful, and inviting Polk County, we are pleased to announce the following progress in the litter pick up program as well as the Dark Skies initiative.

Joe Cooper, chair of Polk County Appearance Commission (PCAC), and board member, David Friday, met with the DOT district manager, Keith Blazer, and toured each important entryway into Polk County. The importance of keeping these roadways clean and attractive was discussed. Mr. Blazer agreed with how beautiful our foothills are and will do everything he can to help us keep them litter free. He said the state is scheduling at least six litter pickups per year and possibly more. These roadways include I-26, Hwy. 74, Hwy. 108, and Hwy. 9.

We also discussed the overreaching problem with kudzu on Hwy. 176 from Saluda to Tryon and he advised that the DOT will work to keep that in check and off of the roadway. They are also working out details for granting Columbus a right of way easement so that a protective barrier can be placed around the Dough Boy statue that is so important to Polk County history.

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We have had an excellent response to our Dark Skies 20/20 plan for using non-invasive outdoor lighting fixtures instead of the use of fixtures that emit light pollution. Many of our citizens are in favor of using the non-invasive fixtures so that our night skies remain as dark as possible and unobstructed.

The city of Saluda, led by City Commissioner Carolyn Ashburn and City Manager Jonathan Cannon, are trying to comply with our Polk County 20/20 plan and installed a down-lit LED fixture in the Tail Gate Market parking area so as to not bother the neighboring homes and keep the lighting focused on the ground. (see picture).

The PCAC would like to see our government officials take appropriate steps to require any new construction or remodeling within the county to use these lighting fixtures since they are more energy efficient, let less light trespass, give off less light pollution, and have better reliability. 

For anyone interested in helping our commission we have an opening for one more volunteer. Contact the Polk County Appearance Commission at P.O. Box 308, Columbus, NC 28722, call 828-894-2324, visit, or email me at

~Dave Friday