Community group continues to make its mark on city with projects, events

When Galva’s historic Best Building came down, a group of local citizens were spurred into action.

The demolition of the Best Building and the adjacent Galva Theater occurred in the spring of 2016, and shortly thereafter the community-minded “Galva: Ready, Set, Grow” organization came into being.

“It got started when the Best Building came down,” Annette Smith said of Galva: Ready, Set, Grow.

“That was what lit our fire,” added Jennifer Johnson

“Everybody in town was pretty hot about the Best Building, and what can we do?” Judy Hartman said.

Smith, Johnson and Hartman have been instrumental in Galva: Ready, Set, Grow since it started, and made those comments at the group’s May meeting. The organization meets at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Galva City Council chambers and the public is welcome to attend and get involved.

Smith said the group doesn’t have the money or manpower to save buildings, but it has gone all in to make Galva a better place to live and operate a business.

“If it looks like you care about your town, someone might take a second look at doing something here,” Hartman said.

So what are the signs of Galva: Ready, Set, Grow caring? To name a few — the ongoing cleanup work in Veterans Memorial Park, the new awning at the Galva Arts Council building, benches that individuals can order and design through Best Displays, the painting of signs around town, raising funds for two new Galva Cemetery signs, the monthly Property Pride Award, the Little Mr. and Little Miss Patriotic Contest and the Halloween party in Wiley Park.

The group also will be in action Saturday night at Wiley Park, serving supper prior to the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series concert. Supper runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and is by donation.

All of the funds raised from events go back into community projects.

“The bottom line for me is this is my hometown, I’m going to live here until I die and I want it to look nice,” Smith said.

“I want my kids to be proud of the town they live in,” Johnson said.

The group has a big project in mind — a mural in town — but is still debating the right theme and place. 

Smith said getting involved is simple — come to the group’s monthly meeting. The group keeps the community informed of ongoing projects via its Facebook page, and welcomes new people to jump onboard and join the effort.

“People may not be able to come to the meetings, but they can still come out and help,” Smith said.

If anyone is interested in contributing financially, donations can be sent to Galva: Ready, Set, Grow; PO Box 35; Galva, IL; 61434. Drop a note with the donation if it’s to be earmarked for a specific project.