Breckenridge Texan

Fundraising for BHS students’ downtown project kicks off with donation from Clear Fork Bank

Fundraising for BHS students’ downtown project kicks off with donation from Clear Fork Bank
June 24
12:03 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge families will soon have a new place to relax and take a break in the downtown area, as a group of Breckenridge High School seniors is planning to convert the empty lot in the 200 block of West Walker Street, across the street from the Stephens County Courthouse, into a community-use space.

Joni Jackson, Jack McKay, Miley Roberts and Timothy Newell are working on this year’s Texas Midwest Community Network’s annual leadership project, which will include a seating area, a play area and a new mural.

“We’re at the beginning, so we’re getting donations from here in the community, and we’re just fixing to put in a mural up there,” Jackson said.

The new mural in downtown will include the motto “The Place to B,” as well as images of a prickly pear cactus and a picture of Breckenridge from the early 1900s, as seen in this mockup. The students working on the Leadership TMCN project came up with the idea for the mural, and artist Lauren Aycock turned their ideas into a plan for the mural. (Courtesy image)

The fundraising portion of the project kicked off Friday afternoon with a donation by Clear Fork Bank of Breckenridge.

Clear Fork Bank President Kevin Simmons presented Jackson and McKay with a check for $2,880 to be used as a downpayment for the mural that will be painted on the brick wall on the west side of the lot.

Jackson said the students came up with the idea for the mural and worked with mural painter Lauren Aycock, who created the final design. Aycock has been working on the mural restoration project around Breckenridge for several months.

In addition to the mural, the area will include a play area and a seating area, and fences or railings will be installed on the north and south borders of the area to help keep kids safe while they and their parents enjoy the space, Jackson said.

The play area will include spaces for games, such as corn hole and horseshoes, and the seating area will include benches and picnic tables, McKay said.

The students are working closely with the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation and its Downtown Development Council on the plans for the project. The Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce and the BEDC are members of the TMCN.

According to information from TMCN, the Leadership TMCN Program “seeks to engage high school students as active participants in the growth and development of their respective communities by learning effective tools to ‘sell the dream’ and identify ways to implement change. The goal is for students and mentors to create and carry out an impactful community project.”

Locally, the student team works with Lisa Echols and other community leaders to complete a project each year. In 2021, the team of Liberty Vandergriff, Aimee Toliver, Rylan Sims and Kason Knight earned the first place award in TMCN’s annual leadership competition, earning scholarship money for each team member. The project that year involved sprucing up the Breckenridge Community Garden, aka Gardenville, located in the 300 block of North Smith Street.

To make a donation to the project, contact one of the students on the Leadership TMCN team or Lisa Echols.


Cutline, top photo: On Friday, June 21, Kevin Simmons, president of Clear Fork Bank-Breckenridge, right, presents a check to Joni Jackson, center, and Jack McKay, members of the local Leadership TMCN team for their project to convert an empty lot in downtown Breckenridge into a family-friendly community space. Not pictured are team members Miley Roberts and Timothy Newell. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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