Since its beginning in 1967, KIBA has been a very important part of Kilgore beautification efforts, leading the way when other individuals and groups chose not to get involved. This effort was led by the early pioneers, the late Nelda Lewis, Charles Devall and Mayor Foster T. Bean. The first meeting was March 12, 1968, and the organization received its charter on April 6, 1968 of the same year. For 45 years we have proudly carried the clean-up banner for the City of Kilgore, winning state and national awards.

What was KIBA’s purpose? According to the bylaws the KIBA was organized to aid, assist, to foster and promote the best interest of the residents of the City of Kilgore and its suburbs, by undertaking a lawful and appropriate public campaign of advertising, communication and other lawful means of public appeal and exhortation to educate the people living, sojourning, working or conducting business in the City of Kilgore and Gregg and Rusk Counties, To clean, repair, plant and refresh the premises in which they live, work or conduct business in a lawful and proper manner, so as to make the Greater Kilgore area a cleaner, healthier, safer and more beautiful place in which to live and work. At this time there was a lot of litter and oil field lease clean up that needed to be done.

To sponsor such a project and direct activities, a board of directors was created representing the City of Kilgore, Kilgore College, Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, Kilgore Independent School District, Kilgore Council of Garden Clubs and the Kilgore News Herald and at large members from the community.

The first Board of Kilgore Improvement and Beautifications were as follows: Appointed from City of Kilgore-Foster T. Bean and Frank Green, Kilgore College-Dr. Randolph Watson and Austin Kay, Kilgore Independent School District-Bill Brantley and Bill Floyd, Kilgore Chamber of Commerce-Harold Anderson and Nelda Lewis, Kilgore Council of Garden Clubs-Mrs. R.S. Martin Jr. and Mrs. R. G. Conatser. The board members at large from the community were: Kilgore News Herald-Charles Devall, Radio Station KOCA-Mrs. A. G. Morton Jr, Mrs. Dan Morgan, Mrs. G. W. J. Robberson, Rev. Howard Eddington and Civic Affairs-Mrs. Harold Anderson. Kilgore has begun and maintained 40 projects for beautification and clean-up in the City of Kilgore.

Some of the major projects :

  • Buying the original derrick and land on the World’s Richest Acre. Placing replicas of 24 small derrick using 8 1/2 feet derricks which have 23 stars and one cross on their tops.
  • Buying the Missouri and Pacific Railroad Station in 1980, to house the White Elephant Bazaar which is open every Tuesday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Installing in 1987, Six Flags over Texas at City Hall. The flags from different countries that have flown over the state of Texas were displayed on flag poles in raised bed with bushes to beautify. Those flags were from Spain, France, Mexico, Confederate State of Texas, state of Texas and the United States.
  • Landscaped Memorial Park with hedges that spell Kilgore and the Star Island bed in front of the Kilgore Public Library.
  • Built and maintain the Shakespeare Garden on Brook Drive on the Kilgore College campus.
  • Sponsor, Make Kilgore Shine Clean-Up plus many other City Wide Clean ups.
  • Raised money and built the Amphitheather in Kilgore City Park and later gave it to the City since it was in the City Park.
  • Have a Beauty Spot, Yard of the month and commercial award of the month and present the winners certificates at the end of the year. Also have a Christmas lighting contest with listed winner, who also receive certificates.
  • Began Second Saturday recycling program in 1988 KIBA has been helping to make Kilgore a cleaner, liter-free and beautiful town, but as you know that never stops because we have to teach in our schools and in our community Keep Kilgore Beautiful.