Keep Highway Park Beautiful, Lake Placid, FL

Thanks to eight months of hard work of many volunteers and grants from Keep America Beautiful, Lowe’s and Dow, the grand opening of of Keep Highway Park Beautiful’s Village Green Community Park & Resource Center took place on Saturday, May 2, in Lake Placid, Fla. The event coincided with the Great American Cleanup and FDOT-Keep Our Paradise Litter Free DIH Trash Off. Though work continues, what was once an eyesore to the community is now a nice park, which includes a facility to serve as a small community center.

Keep Durham Beautiful, Durham, N.C.

Volunteers began work on a new project at Briggs Avenue Community Garden in Durham, N.C., on Friday, Oct. 31, thanks to a $10,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant in support of the mission of Keep Durham Beautiful. The Lowe’s Community Partners Grant will provide funding to create new demonstration areas, develop a vineyard, and improve accessibility for individuals with limited mobility.

Briggs Avenue Community Garden was founded to address issues of food security, to improve the diets of residents, and to provide Durham youth and families with resources and education to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Local Lowe’s employee volunteers — “Lowe’s Heroes” — are working at the garden alongside other volunteers and City and County staff (including Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers).

Already, they have created accessible raised garden beds for plot owners with limited mobility and developed a vineyard with grapes and blueberries to teach vineyard cultivation and management for the community. In the next month, they will finish building a 400-square-foot mortared brick patio with lighting, fans, seating and cooking stations for public use in demonstrations and community gatherings.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-December 2014, making the space even more inviting for the many families and individuals who participate in the garden in 2015.

Keep Cass County Beautiful, Louisville, NE

On Oct. 25, 36 local volunteers gathered to plant 34 new trees in the village park in Cedar Creek, Neb. The trees were made possible from a 2014 Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Partners Grant. The $10,000 grant was received by Keep Cass County Beautiful and helps support its mission to engage individuals in building and sustaining vibrant communities.

Twenty-four conifer trees were planted along the south side of the park to add a screen and noise barrier from the railroad tracks. A mix of Black Hills spruce, white pine, Douglas fir, Colorado spruce, Norway spruce, limber pine, and Swiss stone pines will create a beautiful backdrop. A variety of autumn blaze maples, shingle oaks and various crabapple trees were also planted in the 19-acre park and green space areas. Another 10 large deciduous trees (each of a different species) will be planted this week to complete the project. The addition of more trees will provide shade, shelter, habitat, cleaner air, and a beautiful environment that will encourage more use of park areas.

Thanks to Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, the Village Board of Cedar Creek, Charles Paukert, Kip Fuxa, many Cedar Creek and other volunteers, Eagle Nursery and Beck’s Tree Farm for their help with the completion of this project. Creating more shade in the picnic and playground areas of the park will encourage more events and attract more visitors. This project will improve the overall aesthetics and environment of Cedar Creek’s unique lake community increasing enjoyment for everyone.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

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!