Keep the Midlands Beautiful, West Columbia South Carolina

Wow, April is almost over! Keep the Midlands Beautiful has had a busy, but fun month. We started the month with a local school wanting to do a 2 day service learning project. These children ranged in age from 8 to 18. They worked with a local police officer to cleanup senior citizens yards. Both days, 20+ students showed up to cleanup 3 to 4 people’s yards. The students really enjoyed getting out of the classroom and giving back to their community.

Keep Highway Park Beautiful, Lake Placid, FL

It is the belief of Keep Highway Park Beautiful that change begins with education followed by action. The Highway Park Community is a low income, primarily minority community outside the city limits of Lake Placid, FL. The community was surveyed and asked to prioritize the issues they felt could be most beneficial. The lack of a community park was among the top 3 issues identified. Keep Highway Park Beautiful selected and purchased 100 x 160 foot vacant lot that was filled with trash, overgrown with vegetation, and an abandoned/dilapidated building. The location was ideal for a park due to its proximity to the commercial district and its ease of access. It is within easy walking distance for most residents.

KHPB applied for the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement grant and was awarded $10,000. With these funds, KHPB immediately began work on the park beginning in September of 2014. A professional landscape design was procured that meets county environmental codes and protects the habitat of certain endangered species such as the blue tailed mole skink and sand skink. County right of ways and underground utilities were validated. Our group of volunteers worked diligently for two months. The teams cleared trash and debris, removed deeply rooted tree stumps, graded land, planted palm trees, laid sod, mulch, flowers, created walking paths and installed one of two fountains. Heavy duty equipment as well as a lot of manual labor was involved. Seventy five (75) percent of the park was completed by November 30, 2014.

Keep Highway Park Beautiful is extremely grateful to KAB and Lowe’s and our many volunteers for their help. This grant went a very long way toward ensuring that our dream of a community park will soon become a reality. What was once vacant, trash filled property at 104 Washington Street in Lake Placid (Highway Park), FL has now become an oasis of beauty even though it is only 75% completed. This park’s design includes green space, children’s butterfly garden, two fountains, and more. The park will include recycling bins to encourage recycling of cans, bottles, & paper as well as cigarette ash receptacles.

Feedback from the community has been extremely positive. We have had residents stop by and just pitch in because they saw how the area was improving and making such a positive difference. It is important to note that this park is visible from U S Hwy 27, a major transportation artery through the county. What was once an eyesore is now becoming one of the treasures of the community.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful

Fresh Paint Days (FPD) is a Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) program designed to encourage volunteers to seek out unsightly community structures and renovate them with the creative use of resources provided by and through KOB. Volunteers will make use of these supplies to transform that community blemish over a period of a few days with the simple application of FRESH PAINT and a lot of elbow grease! And this year, Greer County Conservation District designed an especially creative project!

Greer County Conservation District, led by the fearless Donna Gilpatrick, was chosen to received 20 gallons of paint – a beige base color and a purple trim. As you would expect, the majority of the building’s four walls were painted entirely beige while the tops of the walls, where it meets the roof, and door frames were painted purple. But Donna didn’t stop there. With the help of some very imaginative and resourceful artists, the group transformed an unsightly, aging, forgotten structure into a work of art. Two murals, on each side of the building, depicting pride in our great state and showcasing its beauty.

Greer County was recently chosen as the Best Visual Impact Winner for their project at our 24th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards Celebration. We are so proud of Greer County Conservation District’s imagination and creativity!

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful – The Patch on Main (Huntersvile Presbyterian Church)

The KAB/Lowe’s grant applied for by Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful on behalf of Huntersville Presbyterian Church is transforming two deserted lots to create the Patch on Main Community Garden that will comprise an 80′ by 80′ space and provide 30 garden plots, plus a variety of other natural & planted areas tol be used for feeding and educating our community, including those in need.

A total of 38 volunteers from the church, including Pastor David Brown and Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain kicked off our project with a groundbreaking and dedication work day in September of this year. This allowed us to clear and prep the site for planned improvements to the site and establishment of the garden space.

Grant funds helped clear dead trees and limbs from the property, including the rental of a chipper that converted these materials to mulch that will be used in the garden area. Six Lowe’s heroes volunteered approximately 51 hours to come to the property to help install the fence, which we purchased from Lowe’s with grant funds after on-site consultation and measurement by representatives from our Huntersville Lowe’s store. The Lowe’s volunteers removed a chain link fence on one side of the garden and erected a new chain link fence on the back side. Then they installed a split rail fence on the remaining two sides of the garden with one small gate and a double gate. This allowed a defined area for the garden and the ability to help keep out rabbits, dogs and other animals that could be detrimental to the garden. Soil amendments and tools, water hoses and carts were purchased for the garden so we’ll be ready to go in the Spring.

This will be the first official community garden in the Town of Huntersville and the support from the grant has really helped get the project off on the right foot and attracted community support. “The grant has helped take this from an idea to a blessing for our community. Local businesses have also been excited about the opportunity to be involved and contribute to what we think will strengthen the downtown community of Huntersville,” said Jim Carlson, Garden Manager. Local businesses like Wallace Farms, McLeod Organics, Huntersville Rental and Henson Foley have donated items to the project, including compost, cover crops, soil amendments, nutrients, lyme and even a professional site plan laying out all aspects of the project and will be displayed on the rear of the Patch on Main sign.

Since receiving the Lowe’s / KAB grant, we have partnered with Huntersville Parks & Recreation to expand plans for engagement and education on the site. Huntersville Parks & Recreation is even planning to install a greenhouse on site in the next month or two to grow seedlings for transplants. We have even initiated contact with Huntersville-Based Metrolina Greenhouses, the largest single-site heated greenhouse in the United States at 162 acres under roof, and a major supplier to Lowe’s, about assisting with the greenhouse.

Keep Simpson County Beautiful, Mendenhall, MS

McLemore Community Garden – Keep Simpson County Beautiful (KSCB) will establish three community gardens in Braxton, Magee, and Mendenhall, Mississippi. These gardens will be established to bring together neighborhoods for the purpose of sharing fruits and vegetables. KSCB is utilizing the expertise of the Mississippi State Extension Service for advice on plantings and nutrition.
KSCB community gardens

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, Michigan

The scraping and prepping is complete and painting has begun at Sarginson Park. Devin Shroeder from the Lowe’s store in Burton, Michigan  stopped by to answer questions and encourage the volunteers from the West Flint Community Watch as they started the multi-day painting process. Just a week earlier, 18 community volunteers came out to finish scraping and prepping the park’s pavilion, benches, safety rails and playground equipment. This Saturday, the local Lowe’s team will conduct its second Scrape, Prep and Paint Training session at Mott Park where volunteers will spend the day applying what they learn.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

On Thursday, July 31, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful teamed up with 140 volunteers from POSSIBLE to “Shock the Block” in West End. The block? Bank Street, from Baymiller to Freeman Avenue. Volunteers tackled a number of projects that made the street go from dingy and dirty to colorful and clean.

One group of volunteers concentrated their efforts on Dyer Park, taking on a handful of different projects including edging and mulching around trees and picnic areas, painting the picnic tables, picking up litter, painting the large retaining wall under the splash park, and painting a mural.

Another group painted the barricades of a vacant storefront and a vacant school known as the Bloom School on Bank Street. Volunteers painted the barricades to look like windows and doors. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will finish painting the Bloom School in the coming weeks.

A smaller group pulled weeds that were three-feet high from tree wells along Bank Street and mulched them afterwards. Ten more volunteers cleaned up an overgrown and littered alley.

These projects were organized to make this part of West End cleaner and safer. Studies show that when areas are clean and beautiful, there is less litter and crime.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful would like to thank POSSIBLE, who sponsored the event and spent three hours working in the neighborhood. Special thanks also to The Cincinnati Recreation Commission, who provided mulch and painting supplies for Dyer Park, and to the City’s Department of Public Services, who not only primed the retaining wall, but also collected all of the trash and yard waste after the event.

POSSIBLE is a global digital agency that offers their clients award-winning digital strategy, performance marketing, and creative design.

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, Reno, NV

Record number of sites for KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup
More than 600 residents brave weather to clean up Truckee Meadows

RENO, NV (May 10, 2014) – More than 600 Washoe County residents turned out in the wind and rain Saturday to clean up illegal dumpsites and invasive weeds at a record 22 sites during KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup. Volunteers removed 116 tons of trash, 13 tons of invasive weeds and more than 300 tires for a cleanup total of 132 tons. Volunteers also removed graffiti from several sites.

“Last year it was almost too hot to be out, and this year was the opposite, but you can’t stop our volunteers,” said Christi Cakiroglu, executive director of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB).

Cakiroglu said the organization also started the KTMB Speakers Bureau this year to try and spread a wider word about how illegal dumping negatively affects the Truckee Meadows.

“People might think they are saving some money, or they truly might not know what to do with some of the items they’re dumping,” Cakiroglu said. “But there are alternatives, and people can contact us anytime for that information. Dumping never saves money because residents pay in so many other ways like lowered property values, deterred business and depressed quality of life for everyone who lives here.”

KTMB volunteers are individuals, families and groups from all over the community, including the event sponsor, Intuit, and all the event partners like the Truckee River Fund, NV Energy Foundation, YP, Allied Nevada Gold Corp., cities of Reno and Sparks, IGT, KTVN, Save Mart, Signature Landscapes, Sun Valley GID, Washoe County, Washoe County Health District, Waste Management, Wells Fargo, Wilks Radio, AT&T External Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Microsoft Licensing, OrangeTree Productions, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Scheels, The Nature Conservancy, Tires Plus, United States Forest Service, and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup began in 2006 as a part of a community-based effort to preserve the natural beauty of local recreation areas and remove the dangers to people and wildlife associated with illegal dump sites and invasive weeds. For a map of 2014 cleanup sites, before and after photos, video and more, visit

In 2014, KTMB celebrates 25 years of stewardship in the Truckee Meadows, and KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup is the 15th event in KTMB’s 25for25 Silver Celebration (#25for25). All KTMB programs are geared toward educating the public about the economic and health hazards of litter and illegal dumping; reducing our waste; eliminating trash from our parks, roadways and open spaces; making our community a beautiful and safe place to live; and giving opportunities for residents and businesses to take pride and ownership in their home. Residents can get involved by visiting