Beautification Awards for projects completed in 2021 

Published 12:29 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

The Polk County Appearance Commission presents the annual Beautification Awards for important beautification improvements in Polk County. These awards are for projects completed in the past year of 2021. This was another difficult year for many people but even in this trying time an exceptional number of important improvements were made. 


PCAC began giving these awards in 2011 to thank and honor our citizens for their contributions to the beauty of our county and the work that allows this tradition to be continued is appreciated.

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These Beautification Awards are for important projects that the public can view and enjoy. The property can be either privately or publicly owned. To receive this award, the beautification work must be something that the general public can see from public roads or sidewalks or be on a property that is open to the public. This year several important improvements to Polk County are being recognized with Certificates of Recognition. The people who did this work made our county a better place to live, work and visit. 


A framed Certificate of Recognition is being presented to each recipient for the following projects:


The beautiful Nina Simone Plaza honors the musician and native of Tryon who achieved international acclaim. Born Eunice Waymon, she was a singer, songwriter, pianist and activist. The Plaza is on Trade Street in downtown Tyron. The Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Dr. Crys Armbrust, representing the Nina Simone Foundation.


The new addition of the First Baptist Church of Tryon is an architecturally attractive building that will be known as the “The Gathering Place.” It was designed by Tryon architect John Walters and invites members and guests to gather together. The church is located at 125 Pacolet Street in Tryon. The Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Dr. Jeff Harris, Pastor of the church.


The buildings and grounds of the Tryon Arts and Crafts School have been improved through artistic vision and hard work, particularly from Board member Judith Webb. The exterior is now renewed and informs the public about the many offerings of the school. The Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Will Barclift, the Executive Director.


The building at 289 South Trade Street in Tryon finished renovation in 2021. The building went through extensive changes and is beautifully landscaped. It is also the new home of All Good Things Bakery which has become an important local resource. The Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Darren Lynch, the owner of the building who was responsible for these improvements.


The Tryon Fine Arts Center, an important cultural center in Polk County, has finished a significant architectural addition. The new Pavilion allows gatherings and receptions in a beautiful space designed by architect John Walters. The Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Marianne Carruth, the Executive Director and Robert Penfold, the Chair of the Board.


A very welcome improvement in 2021 was the creation of the Dog Park in Harmon Field. This park exemplifies the importance of making our area Inviting. An old ball field was transformed into a popular addition to our area and dog owners are grateful. The Certificate of Recognition is presented to Cynthia Davis, whose generous donation made this possible, in memory of Seth Davis and Jane Brown.


Other improvements to the visual appeal of Polk County were made in 2021, among these; we feel that two deserve Honorable Mention. Vaughn Creek Greenway in Tryon was significantly improved by the hard work of volunteer Kudzu Warriors led by Greg Miner. The new metal sculpture by artist George Williams on the grounds of the Mill Spring Ag Center is a great addition to public art, as well as a new mural by Asheville artist Ishmael Lords.  


All of these winners have set excellent examples of what the Polk County Appearance Commission means when they  say our county is Clean, Beautiful and Inviting. The people of Polk County are better off because of their efforts. For more information about Beautification projects, grant applications and work being done to control Kudzu and other invasive plants, visit or


Submitted by Cathy Brettman