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Texas Water Smart Garden Dedicated in Palestine (7/31/2017)

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), City of Palestine and Texas Water Smart Foundation (TWS) are pleased to announce the installation of a water conservation demonstration garden in downtown Palestine.
“Palestine embodies the best of rural Texas,” said Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “The vision and focus of city and community leaders made this project possible, and their efforts will enhance the Main Street District by providing an outdoor space that is attractive and also serves as an education point to teach the public about the importance of agriculture and water conservation.”
Palestine Mayor Steve Presley said, "Palestine has made a long-term commitment to revitalizing the Main Street and downtown districts. This project creates an open-air venue where the community can gather, and where we can host visitors. I am proud of the Pionette Garden Club’s leadership in fundraising for and installing this green space. I am continually humbled by the dedication and support of private citizens who give of their personal resources to grow our city."
The project is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program and was implemented through a partnership among TDA, TWS, the Palestine Economic Development Corporation, the Pionette Garden Club and community volunteers.
The City of Palestine was awarded a Texas Water Smart grant funded through the Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help design and implement the garden. The purpose of the grant is to promote Palestine as a TDA Certified Retirement Community and to support water conservation awareness. 
“This project is an investment in rural Texas,” Commissioner Miller continued. “The future of our communities depends on attracting business and new residents, as well as maintaining a reliable water supply. Palestine is working to fulfill both of these goals.”
Senator Robert Nichols applauded the local efforts stating, “I would like to congratulate Palestine on receiving a Texas Water Smart Grant. Through this project, the downtown area will be enhanced and become even more of an attraction for local residents and visitors. Additionally, the garden will serve as an education tool for future generations, demonstrating the importance of water conservation for not only Palestine and East Texas, but also the whole state.”
“We are pleased to partner with TDA and the local communities to increase awareness about the nexus between healthy outdoor spaces, economic development, and water conservation,” Amy Graham, Chair of the Texas Water Smart Foundation said. “Because of the high level of engagement from the city and local volunteers, we know the garden will serve the community and carry forward the message about the importance of gardening and landscaping for years to come.”
To be eligible for the TDA-Texas Water Smart grant, participating communities must be enrolled in the TDA Certified Retirement Community program and select a project site that will help make the community more appealing to visitors and new residents. Because of the importance of maintaining an adequate water supply for agricultural users, projects must demonstrate outdoor water conservation techniques. 

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