Magnolia Village has been the historic venue for myriad community gatherings. But the business corridor has long lacked the sort of public amenities that make a neighborhood a place to explore rather than just pop in.

“All these years someone has wanted to do something like this,” said Magnolia Beautification Committee member Cheryl McQuiston. “We’re kind of finishing what everyone in the community has wanted to do for a long time.”

An offshoot of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, the beautification committee has spent the past 20 months planning how to improve the experience in the Village: using city sidewalk space for tables and chairs, benches, outdoor bistro lights, ornamental poles on which to hang flowers and banners, and better managing street trees.

“The city won’t let us get rid of them, and they won’t prune them,” McQuiston said of the neglected magnolia trees in the Village.

The chamber of commerce was granted a permit for the first phase of the Magnolia Beautification project, covering West McGraw Street between 32nd and 33rd Avenues West. The application was filed by Don Gillmore, owner of Don Gillmore Consulting and Magnolia Beautification Committee member, and includes plans for tables and chairs, benches, poles with hanging baskets and bike racks.

“We’ve been really lucky with who’s on the committee,” McQuiston said.

McQuiston is one of the committee’s two fundraising leads, having run her Auctions Are My Life business for more than 20 years.

“I raised millions of dollars for nonprofits, and it was very rewarding,” she said.

Each block will have different treatments, and the estimated cost to enhance Magnolia Village — in five phases — is $500,000.

The first phase of the Magnolia Beautification project is expected to cost $120,000, and McQuiston said a campaign launch took place just before Summerfest.

“We have a lot of things that happen here and a lot of young families,” McQuiston said. “I think we have more young families here than ever before.”

The MBC has so far raised around $6,500 from 11 donors, with more expected to roll in as the fundraising campaign ramps up. McQuiston said she hopes every business in the Village chips in, even if just a little.

Many of the buildings in the Village are owned by trusts or people living outside the area, she said, so it has been hard to get buy-in from them.

“These businesses are hardworking people, and anything we can do for them is good,” she said.

McQuiston hopes the beautification project will bring in new businesses to the Village and increase community participation.

The MBC is also applying for a $25,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from the city.

More information about the beautification project and how to donate is at