Usually, Maypearl residents find Geneva McAskill downtown outside her shop, Maypearl Hay and Feed, where she often greets folks by name.

McAskill already has a strong presence in the community. That much is certain. And, now, she has plans to use her big personality to better the community at-large.

McAskill has assumed the role as president of the Maypearl Chamber of Commerce. Her vision is to sustain the culture of Maypearl and revitalize downtown, balancing the old with the new.

“What’s next is we are moving forward,” McAskill emphasized

When McAskill heard the good news, she thought, “’Okay, now we can move forward into the 21st century and build a presence in the town.’ My vision for Maypearl is sustainable growth, but that also protects our historic natural resources and preserve the values of Maypearl.”

After two years of involvement with the Maypearl Chamber of Commerce, the chamber board elected McAskill president six months ago. Within that time, the local chamber has gone from 17 to 100 memberships. Her plan for the next six months is to double the number of memberships to 200.

“I’m trying to get all the local people and businesses to sign up because your $40 will help us move forward to get a festival, Stoney LaRue or Tony Robinson to play here. Come join the chamber to help change the community,” McAskill urged.

Along with the new memberships, the board added three new board members, Glenda Holmes, Kaaren Lynch and Amanda Mayfield-Perdue to weigh out perspectives. The chamber website was also rejuvenated. And, most recently, McAskill purchased three classic, black signs welcoming visitors to Maypearl. They will be located near the high school, the fire station and the end of downtown.

One passion for McAskill is event planning. In 2016, she was the mastermind behind the Ellis County Musicians Festival and is motivated to bring it back. After reflecting on the success of the Ellis County Fair and Rodeo, she is confident in how the chamber can bring the community together and, in turn, outsiders to Maypearl.

Another idea McAskill has is a festival that is inspired by the culture of the town. She described Maypearl as “deep-seeded and agriculture-based.”

She pointed out how every town has an annual festival. McAskill recalled how the town was named after the railroad conductor’s two daughters, May and Pearl. She envisions “Depot Days,” a festival to celebrate the town.

McAskill has an extensive background in hosting events with her involvement with the annual Fourth of July celebration, the annual Maypearl FFA booster auction, which raises about $22,000 for scholarships, Christmas in Maypearl, and Antique Alley. She also works with Friends of Maypearl, the City of Maypearl, picks the yard of the month and runs the Facebook page Voice of Maypearl.

She moved to Maypearl after her involvement with the U.S. Marines. She and her husband, Zach Zoll, are farmers themselves, maintaining 1,500 acres with livestock and hay in Maypearl.

When reflecting on how the town has changed over time, McAskill said it a priority to make downtown what it once was.

“Maypearl lacks businesses," she emphasized. "Trying to convince people to open their business in Maypearl is hard to do because they look around and there’s nothing here. And, I would love to have a beautiful downtown area that’s thriving and succeeding.”

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450