I’m in DC building picnic tables with one of our favorite corporate partners at the KAB conference. It may be snowing to the north, but things are heating up here with some great conference sessions and resources along with amazing peers from across the country.
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!
Even on a Sunday with temperatures hovering just over 50 degrees, volunteers are hard at work improving the playground area in Longway Park. Local volunteers who include a city councilman, a local business owner, and several neighborhood residents, are all members of the Potter Longway Neighborhood Association which proudly participates in KGCB’s Adopt A Park program. Using funds from KGCB’s Lowe’s Community Improvement grant, playgrounds, benches and pavilions in parks throughout Flint are being painted, repaired and improved. If temperatures are too low for painting (50 degrees or lower) volunteers are still in the parks scraping, laying safety mulch, replacing wood on benches and bleachers, and whatever other tasks need to be done. Fall weather is unpredictable in Michigan, but what’s for certain is our volunteers are heating things up thanks to KAB and the Lowe’s Community Improvement program.
Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s volunteer activity is attracting even more volunteers. Each day as they continue their painting and improvements in Sarginson Park, the Adopt a Park sponsors from West Flint Community Watch are being approached by neighborhood residents who want to join in and help complete the process.
Mary Severn, who co-chairs the Sarginson Park adoption team, was approached today while buying coffee and donuts for the hard-working volunteers in the park. A gentleman in line behind her asked a few questions and decided he wanted to volunteer as well. Whenever there are even two or three people interested in heading over to do some painting, Mary is willing to get them started with supplies and little direction. Scraping and painting begin at Delaware and Longway parks on September 13-14. Here’s to the volunteer spirit!
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.
The first Scrape, Prep and Paint Training by local Lowe’s employees took place in Sarginson Park. Volunteers learned how to prepare metal, wood and concrete for painting and staining. Volunteers were split into two groups to learn and have “hands on” experience in scraping old paint off of a city park pavilion, benches and concrete. Volunteer Adopt a Park representatives from 10 different City of Flint parks were on hand. The Lowe’s/KAB grant provided all of the materials that volunteers will use to prep and paint playground equipment, benches, pavilions and other similar items in their own local parks. The next step is for each park to provide their own Scrape and Prep date and start the improvement process in their own parks.
Located in Edmond, Okla., St. Mary’s Episcopal School’s Beyond the Classroom program offers special morning and afternoon childcare in an effort to provide children with a safe, secure, “home away from home” atmosphere. Beyond the Classroom students (BTC) focused their Great American Cleanup (GAC) efforts on 60 acres of school grounds. The students worked to expand the nesting boxes trail for bluebirds, cut down invasive pears in the native grasses with easy-to-use tools provided by Troy-Bilt. They also installed two outdoor classrooms of stones that are sustainable, low maintenance and will last forever.
Students cleaned up ponds as the water levels dropped, trail litter clean ups each visit, monitored the nesting of birds at St. Mary’s and earned national recognition as Advanced Bird Sanctuary by National Wildfire Federation. Donna Mackiewicz is the Director of Beyond the Classroom at St. Mary’s Episcopal School and is constantly participating in Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s programs. We appreciate everything she is doing to help students grow. Way to go BTC!
On May 10th, Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful (KRCB ), which brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities, launched the 16th annual Great American Cleanup in the City of Riverside. Over 700 community volunteers took on the critical neighborhoods at 38 cleanup sites citywide. Projects included: litter and weed abatement, graffiti eradication, cleaning city waterways, E-waste collection and 50 trees were planted along Alessandro Blvd. and Cannon Road. Special thanks go to the crews from Athens Services, Burrtec Waste Industries and CR&R Environmental Services for following the volunteer’s efforts that day, collecting over 12,000 lbs. of litter, debris, weeds and bulky items.