Keep Genesee County Beautiful – Flint, MI

It was a cold and rainy 37 degrees on Nov. 11 when the final touches were completed at the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant-supported baseball field in Hardenbrook Park. The  press conference and thank you’s started at 11:30 a.m. with managers from the Flint Township and Burton Lowe’s store on hand as well as a half dozen alumni from the park’s sponsor, the Flint Northern Class of 1974. We watched as the final layer of ball diamond meal was worked into the ground. The bleachers, players’ benches and trash receptacles were in place, and repairs on the backstop had been completed. Now that most of the leaves had dropped, we could clearly see the 450-foot fence line that was the result of the labor of Lowe’s Heroes and Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s community volunteers in September.

The talk quickly turned to planning a ribbon cutting event in the spring at the first baseball game. This generated talk of future baseball tournaments, kick ball games and tee ball games. And, of course, the alumni group added that this means there should be a party and a cook out and other reasons to gather the surrounding community together to celebrate. After the media had left and the bulldozer continued to finish the job, the rain turned into snow, reminding us all that we had the whole winter to plan for the spring kickoff and the renewal of another City of Flint park!

-View a YouTube video of images taken during the Hardenbrook Park cleanup and park improvement project.
-Watch local news coverage of the event on ABC12
-Read local news coverage of the event at the Flint Journal

Beaufort County – City of Beaufort, SC

This Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant Program project took place at 605 West Street in the historic downtown of Beaufort, S.C. It was unique in that it aimed to meet the needs of an individual property owner and beautify a streetscape and neighborhood. The goals of this project were to both help an individual begin to restore his historic home (c. 1880) that had been struck by a tree limb, while also creating an example for the community of how one intervention can make a huge impact on a street and neighborhood. (See video below.)

The owner of this house is legally blind, and had been living for months with a caved-in porch roof. The yard was filled with debris, including the rest of the dead tree. Along the front of the year, a chain-link fence and gate spray-painted orange to help him find the entry was accessed by a make-shift concrete ramp, poured and re-poured over time. Chain-link fence also lined the perimeter of the property, but none of it was actually located on the true property lines. It was overgrown with weeds and small brushy trees.

On Sept. 21, a team of nearly 40 people gathered for 12 hours to work on this project. This was a true community effort and included over 30 Lowe’s Heroes and Marine Corps Air Station volunteers, as well as volunteers from the City of Beaufort, Historic Beaufort Foundation and the Old Commons Neighborhood Association. The construction was coordinated by City Councilman Mike Sutton, whose business specializes in historic preservation construction.

This ambitious project removed the non-historic dilapidated porch, stabilized the side façade and repainted it to match the rest of the house. In addition, the volunteers removed the large dead tree and associated debris, removed the front chain-link fence, installed a proper retaining wall to accommodate the change in grade, installed a “living fence” planted with Carolina Jasmine and lit with solar lights to help the owner find his way. They also landscaped the front and side foundation and fence line visible from the street, relocated the remaining 300 feet of fence to align with the property line, and generally cleaned up all weeds and debris from the yard.

Because a primary goal was to have a positive impact on the streetscape, the majority of the aesthetic focus was put on the front fence and landscaping improvements. This was a significant challenge, as the majority of the front yard between the street and the house had been poured with concrete. Finding a simple, cost-effective, aesthetically-pleasing solution that would blend into the historic neighborhood was our biggest design challenge, but ended up to be one of the biggest successes of the project.

Volunteer Event “Project Picnic” Benefits Local Stamford Community

 

Hurricane Sandy’s winds are long gone, but a corporate sponsor, 1.2 million recycled bottlers and 250 volunteers turned a harsh event – quite literally – into a Connecticut picnic.

Volunteers from  Nestle Waters North America’s (NWNA) “Project Picnic“ program assembled 100 brand new picnic tables Oct. 3 – part of an effort to beautify Stamford, Conn., a large coastal city directly hit by Hurricane Sandy.

“Nearly a year ago, the whir of generators was heard throughout this city as residents waited for power to be restored following Hurricane Sandy,” said Laura McCafferty, director, corporate communications at NWNA. “That sound had a very different meaning as it powered dozens of drills in the hands of hundreds of volunteers who are making their mark in bettering the community.”

The volunteers included NWNA Chairman, President and CEO Tim Brown, and 250 NWNA employees and representatives. Each picnic table contained 1,200 recycled plastic bottles carefully constructed by volunteers during the all-day event. This project aligns with KAB’s new “I Want To Be Recycled” national Public Service Announcement. . The educational campaign shows recyclable materials can be given another life and become something new when people choose to recycle. Visit iwanttoberecycled.org for more information and to find a recycling center in your community.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

It was a beautiful but cold start for the Lowe’s Project at Hardenbrook Park on Sept. 14. A brisk 38 degrees had all of the volunteers ready for a work warm-up. By 10 am there were 30 volunteers with nine Lowe’s Heroes volunteers among them, including store managers Dan Karpinski (with eight volunteers from the Flint Township store) and Brian Siemienkiewicz (with his daughter, from the Burton store). The remaining volunteers included Cub scouts from Saint James Episcopal Church with their parents, Flint Northern Class of 1974 alumni (who sponsor this park) and staff from Keep Genesee County Beautiful.

Over the course of three hours the volunteers cleared out 450 feet of fence line on the south side of the park. In some places they had to clean out over 12 feet of brush to get to the fence. Chain saws, brush hogs, weed whippers and rakes were used to accomplish the task in record time. And, of course, the park sponsors provided lunch including hot dogs, catfish and French fries (fried on site), homemade baked beans, coleslaw, spaghetti, drinks and deep-fried biscuits with jelly for dessert. Incredible! Then we had to go back to work after that meal! In total, we filled 90 yard waste bags with brush, twigs and limbs, five large trailers full of larger limbs and branches, 15 garbage bags, and as assortment of old fencing and other metal objects, bicycle tires and cement.

The contract has been signed for the new baseball field, backstop repair and fencing repairs at the park entrance. The new park sign and five new wooden picnic tables have been installed. We expect that work will begin on the baseball field in about three to four weeks.

Hear more about Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s baseball field project on ABC News12.

 

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation/Keep Detroit Beautiful, Detroit, Michigan

The Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) is partnering with Keep Detroit Beautiful, the Rosedale Grandmont Little League, the City of Detroit, Wayne County and several corporate and local business supporters to renovate the four baseball fields at Stoepel Park No. 1 in northwest Detroit.

The goal of the project is make these baseball fields safe and competitive for the 500+ youth who participate in the local baseball league. To date, we have raised over $450,000 in funding to install a walking path, remove dozens of scrub and dead trees, install fencing around the fields, re-grade the fields, repair broken fencing, install outfield distance signage, create a Green Infrastructure Plan for the park, and install bleachers. The Lowes/Keep America Beautiful grant was used to install warning tracks in three of the outfields. While the total project is not yet complete (1 more field and set of dugouts are still in need of renovations and improvements), this project has only been made possible through the collaboration of many different individuals and entities, all of whom want our kids to have a safe playing environment.

Keep Miles City Beautiful, Miles City, Montana

Miles City, Montana had a city park in desperate need of updating. Dilapidated bathrooms, bent up trash cans, and unsightly landscaping demanded attention.

With the generous support of a community improvement grant from Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful and a grant from CTEP a major renovation occurred in Riverside Park. New bathrooms were installed, benches were constructed, and new trash cans and bushes were placed. Period lighting lines the newly constructed concrete paths weaving through the area. Multiple partners from the local Rotary Club, the city, Keep Miles City Beautiful, and a high school welding class came together to improve the park.

Whether walking on the newly constructed paths, eating under the picnic shelter, or enjoying the playground area, the park encourages outdoor living.

Keep Phoenix Beautiful Activates Public Art at PHX Renews

Volunteers endured the scorching 110 degree temperatures on June 8 to install a 1,280-foot public art mural at PHX Renews, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s vacant lot initiative located at Central Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix. Local artist Hugo Medina coordinated this giant public art mural in December 2012 when he had artists and the public come together to create this art. There were only two rules: it had to be positive and it had to be inspired by downtown Phoenix. The end result was 160 eight-by-four-foot panels that would become a gigantic 1,280-foot-long mural that flows continuously.

PHX Renews is the largest transformation of vacant land happening in the country and sits in the heart of Phoenix on the northeast corner of Indian School and Central, at the historic Steele Indian School Park. The initiative is a partnership between the City of Phoenix, KAB affiliate Keep Phoenix Beautiful, and Barron Collier Companies, owners of the property.

Want to get involved? Visit PHXRenews.org or call 602-262-4820.

Keep Vermilion County Beautiful with the Boys and Girls Club, Danville, IL

Keep Vermilion County Beautiful (KVCB) partnered with the Boys and Girls Club in Danville, IL on Arbor Day to plant a Kentucky Coffeetree in Garfield Park next to the Boys and Girls Club. When the new building for the Boys and Girls Club was built in 2003, a single Kentucky Coffeetree was removed from Garfield Park to make room for the building. Ten years later, KVCB honors its commitment to the Boys and Girls Club partnership by planting a new Kentucky Coffeetree on its grounds. Steve Lane, City of Danville Arborist and KVCB Board member, thought it would be fitting to replace that tree for Arbor Day 2013. Steve Lane told the children that when they are his age and have children of their own, they can show their children the tree and can be proud of the tree that they helped plant. KVCB continues to beautify the county with its partners; one tree, one child and one program at a time.