Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Madison, MS

Cities today often operate on shoestring budgets, making the community improvement work of volunteer-based organizations like ours highly valuable. We plant trees, clean up litter, encourage recycling and enhance our surroundings – all efforts to improve the quality of life for Mississippians.

This year, as part of our Great American Cleanup State Kickoff, we worked with Keep Ridgeland Beautiful to transform a small park into a community resource.

Nestled in the historic McLaurin Heights neighborhood, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful board members discovered the park a few years ago and saw it as an opportunity for improvement by adding a picnic area, seating and improved recreation features. This cleanup helped Ridgeland take this park to the next level.

“We’re so thankful to all of the volunteers and partners who came together to make this project possible,” said Jan Richardson, chair of Keep Ridgeland Beautiful. “These upgrades to Midway Park are a blessing to the nearby neighborhood.”

One neighbor at the event told us, “I plan to keep an eye on this park and make sure its users keep it up.” It’s great to see how engaged the neighbors are.

During the cleanup, about 85 volunteers helped install grills, picnic tables, benches, trash, recycling receptacles and even a pergola. Students took the lead on building the pergola as part of a Technology Student Association construction challenge.

The basketball court was resurfaced leading up the cleanup, and volunteers striped new lines, cleaned backboards, put up new nets and added another goal. Volunteers also added wood chips to the park’s playground, where city employees installed to spring riders for young children.

We can’t forget our many volunteers with green thumbs. We spruced up the park with six new trees, dozens of shrubs and flowers, and fresh pine straw to enhance the aesthetics and soil of garden beds. They also picked up litter near the park, including a neighboring wooded area.

And finally, the park got an official sign, which will help ensure Ridgeland citizens know about this local place.

We’re thankful for the volunteers who gave their time and to our many sponsors who helped us make this work possible. Sponsors included: Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, City of Ridgeland, Bulldog Construction Company, Bufkin Mechanical Inc., Waste Management, Ad Camp Inc., Southwest Distributors, Troy-Bilt, Brown Bottling Group, MMC, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Audubon Homeowners Association, First Ridgeland Baptist Church, Mississippi Railroad Association and Ridgeland City Garden Club.

It’s amazing how we can improve and enhance places, like Midway Park, when working together. Projects like this one are happening across Mississippi as part of the Great American Cleanup, a nationwide clean sweep. More than 200 Great American Cleanups will happen in Mississippi from March to May. Let’s keep up the good work in keeping Mississippi beautiful!

Keep Stockwell Beautiful, Inc Stockwell, IN

Sungro Horticulture in Quincy, Michigan donates 48 bags of professional growing mix to Keep Stockwell Beautiful, Inc. This mix will be used to fill new brick flower boxes in town. The mix will be used for the new butterfly area in the James Cole Outdoor Education Center.

Sungro has been an active support organization for KSB. There growing mix has insured the beauty of our flowers and plants throughout town.

Pictured left to right is Kyle Leosh, production supervisor, Kris Ziller, KSB Chair and Dan Johnson plant manager.

Thanks!

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Albany, GA

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful (KADB) partnered with the art departments of Darton State College and Albany State University to paint a garden scene mural at the Adult Day Care Center of AARC. In December , KADB’s @Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant allowed KADB to install ceiling fans, pavers, flower beds and three raised garden boxes at AARC. The art students were elated to see the smiles on the AARC clients faces as they viewed the mural.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, Albany, GA

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful sponsored an elementary school Arbor Day Celebration with 450 students enjoying a Tree Education presentation by Dr. Kay Kirkman, Chairman of the City Tree Board. Partners included the City Tree Board, two DAR Chapters, The Woman’s Club & Master Gardeners. Our mission was through education and hands-on involvement to instill a vision of conservation, preservation and a knowledge-base for our students regarding the important role that trees play in our everyday lives. The students planted two large Live Oaks.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, Albany, GA

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful celebrated Arbor Day as 33 volunteers planted 30, 15-gallon new trees in downtown Albany on Saturday, Feb. 21, as well as 13 Chinese Elms, 14 Crape Myrtles and three Eastern Redbuds, which now visually enhance the downtown urban canopy. Job Corps students, citizens at large, City Tree Board members, a County Commissioner and a City Commissioner participated in the event.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Indianapolis, IN

Creating Beauty in the Circle City

In 2014, thanks to a generous grant from the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) created the Westminster Pocket Park on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. Partnering with our local Lowe’s store and 17 Lowe’s Heroes, KIB was able to create an amazing community asset.

The vision for the Westminster Pocket Park is to become a vibrant community gathering place, an outdoor sanctuary for clients of all ages. Features such as sculpted benches and art will encourage community members as well as residents of the Westminster Neighborhood Services Adult Services Center to linger—enjoying the beauty of nature and learning about the benefits of native plants to the environment. Due to the large number of seniors living in the surrounding community, the Westminster Pocket Park is a “senior-friendly” greenspace where residents of all ages can gather and interact in a safe space.

In the fall of 2014, KIB hosted a check presentation event to commemorate the space and kick off the Lowe’s volunteer day. Volunteers quickly got to work, prepping the site for the functional art, and helping to plant thousands of native grasses. All of this work will provide accessible greenspace and help bring neighbors together, serving as a green destination to revitalize a neighborhood where vacant lots are plentiful and greenspace scarce.

Now that this space is complete, all that’s left is for the plants to bloom next spring, hopefully in time for the completion of the adjacent Adult Services Center, and then we will start to see increased use of the space by the community!

Keep Haltom City Beautiful, Haltom City, Texas

When the local power company “trimmed” the pine trees in the front yard of Haltom City Hall, we saw it as an opportunity to create a demonstration landscape using Texas native perennials and hardscaping. Getting the grant for $5,000 from the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant program made it possible. Work began in mid-September and was finished the last week of November. Come spring, the low-water plants will contrast beautifully with the whites, browns and beige colors of the various stones. Thanks, KAB and Lowe’s.

Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission, Pine Bluff, AR

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission was very honored to have received the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant for $20,000 to implement the “Safety is Beautiful” project focusing on two large, heavily-trafficked areas in Pine Bluff: 8th Street medians in front of the Convention Center and the main Post Office and also on Harding Avenue.

With the grant award, Clean & Beautiful was able to install four new walkways, trim back hedges, shrubs, and trees, and put in new landscaping for beds that were in disrepair. Even with the crazy and unpredictable weather of Arkansas, we were able to put in the four walkways; replace old, torn, and warped metal edging with stone pavers; level out the brick walks in the turnaround areas; remove dead trees and debris; plant over 1,000 daffodil bulbs, 250 irises, 250 or more day lilies, 10 to 20 azaleas, over 100 hosta, 25 ferns, 20 pencil hollies, 40 boxwood, two large crepe myrtles, 40 ornamental grasses, and the list goes on. These beds were in need of major revitalization and the efforts that Lowe’s afforded us to make were invaluable to the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and surrounding communities who use these areas everyday.

We had around 450 volunteers in total and were able to build new community bridges of communications with organizations who have never been able to work together. We had volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Our youngest volunteer was Gabriella Ogles, age 4, who is pictured here. Her favorite thing to do was dig holes to plant the bulbs and small plants, although as seen here, she really wanted to be like the big people in helping carry the mulch! She was a true reminder of what these projects help to instill in our community and its youth, when presented with the opportunities! We are thrilled with the success and improvements that this grant was able to make in our community!