BALLINGER - There has been a lot of sprucing up around downtown Ballinger in the last week, with the placement of benches and trash receptacles in front of businesses and offices.

BALLINGER - There has been a lot of sprucing up around downtown Ballinger in the last week, with the placement of benches and trash receptacles in front of businesses and offices.

While not everyone was pleased with the installation of the benches and receptacles, the overall response was positive, said City Manager Bryan Grimes.

“We had some backlash from this, but it has subsided,” Grimes said.

The idea to ad benches and receptacles came last year after benches were placed in the Pioneer Plaza.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from that,” Grimes said.

In coming weeks, banners will be placed on the light poles downtown, which has been a long time coming.

Tammie Virden, executive director of the Ballinger Area Chamber of Commerce, said the banners will “welcome” visitors coming from both directions on U.S. Highway 67.

The cost for the benches and receptacles was $16,000 and was split between the city and the chamber.

But Grimes said the efforts to beautify Ballinger should not stop there. Last week, the city council approved a request for the city to apply for a $300,000 Downtown Revitalization Grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture. The grant will require a $50,000-$75,000 match from the city and will require the city to hire an engineer for the project, which will be basically renovating the downtown sidewalks.

The grant also requires that a review committee be appointed. Last Monday, the council appointed Grimes, Mayor Sam Mallory and City Secretary Bonita Shields as the review committee. The group will be charged with going over requests for proposals for engineering and administration and selecting an engineer and project administrator.

The grant also allows for a “citizen participation plan,” if it is awarded.

Grimes stressed during the meeting that the city is not out any funds unless the grant is approved.

“We will not incur any expenses unless it is funded,” Grimes said.