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The Friends of the Black Fork is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to the preservation of the Black Fork river and the Shelby, Ohio downtown area. All contributions are tax deductible.

The FOTBF was formed in 2008 by a group of downtown business people and concerned citizens after the 2007 flood. After discussing the divergent problems with the downtown area (empty store fronts, neglected buildings, weeds, littered sidewalks, etc.) we settled on the simple mantra of “Let’s put some lipstick on this pig.” Our first project was “Clean Sweep”. We set a date and advertised for any volunteers to help clean, paint, weed, pressure wash, and restore the downtown on a Saturday. The community response was tremendous. (Clean Sweep). All types of Shelbyians showed up; retirees, doctors, private citizens, teachers, boy scouts, you name it. We ran out of refreshments donated by local businesses and then jobs that were shovel ready to keep everyone busy.

A member of FOTBF donated a web camera that was installed on the Black Fork River monitoring the water level at the Main St. Bridge. (River Cam)

The FOTBF then purchased, installed and continue to maintain 40 flower boxes on Main St. to brighten up the downtown. (see picture.) Every year Shelby’s 7th grade class helps with the spring plantings and fall cleanup. The Phillips Foundation donated a golf cart to FOTBF and we modified it for watering. (see picture.) We received a grant to build flower boxes for the downtown Gazebo, decorate it with bunting and place decorative flower pots in front of it. The grant was also used to purchase hanging flower baskets for downtown. The City of Shelby has done a lot and helps in many ways.

Our next project was to paint the old Railroad Station building on East Main St.. The Shelby Schools Art Class then painted the silhouettes on the building.

Our first Web cam was mounted on Napoli’s Pizza’s building that was demolished in 2015.

We recently purchased a new camera and mounted it beside the river. We would like to thank the citizens, businesses, and City of Shelby for all their help and donations.

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