Keep Columbus Beautiful, OH

“Plant Pride on Parsons” Makes Columbus Proud

By Sherri Palmer, Program Manager, Keep Columbus Beautiful

The City of Columbus and Keep Columbus Beautiful (KCB), in conjunction with the Neighborhood Design Center, South Side Neighborhood Pride Center and the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association, received a 2012 Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant targeted for assistance to small businesses and property owners along Parson Avenue as an expansion of the “Plant Pride on Parsons” beautification efforts which began in 2010.

The project is working to improve the front of properties that show a need on a two-mile stretch of the Avenue. The Neighborhood Design Center offered tasteful suggestions of paint colors and simple design ideas to enhance and freshen up the façade of the businesses. The paint and painting supplies were paid for through the grant and all labor was completed by supervised volunteers.

The “facelift” took place in two phases. On Aug. 15, 200 Lowe’s Heroes handled “prep work” — sanding, scraping, priming and removal of rotted wood on those properties who signed off to be a project participant. This was followed on Aug. 25 by 600-plus volunteers from the Vineyard Church, a key partner in the 2012 Columbus Volunteer Challenge. Vineyard members and their families painted storefronts, trash containers and picked up litter on Parsons, parallel alleys and side streets.

The grant also was used to target litter. Despite bi-annual cleanups, litter remained a problem along this 2½-mile stretch of Parsons. Grant dollars were used to purchase litter abatement equipment and other supplies that will be used to urge both daily and monthly efforts toward eliminating accumulating trash and debris in the business district.

A clean and green business district sends a strong message that there is pride in the corridor and in the adjacent neighborhoods. The grant is a just a first step in helping existing or vacant businesses along the Avenue to enhance their property, attract new customers, sell or lease empty buildings, and reduce crime.

On Sept. 8, during the first-ever Keep America Beautiful “National Planting Day,” members of the surrounding Parsons Avenue neighborhoods and South Side community were invited to help transition 126 hand-painted planters from summer blooms to fresh fall foliage.

By working together, we are making Columbus a cleaner, safer and more beautiful city in which to live, work and raise our families.