WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE:SMG) announced the recipients of the 2012 GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant Awards Program. The grants, which focus on improving our nation’s cities through the development of community gardens and green spaces, were announced at The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 80th Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.
This year’s winning cities are:
• Baltimore - Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
• Columbia, SC - Mayor Steven Benjamin
• Cleveland - Mayor Frank Jackson
• Corpus Christi, Texas - Mayor Joe Adame
• San Francisco - Mayor Edwin Lee
“Over the last several years, The Conference has pushed for cities to develop community gardens to enhance the health and quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Conference President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “This new Grant Awards Program shines an important spotlight on mayoral efforts to support innovative gardens and green spaces. ”
Through a new partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and ScottsMiracle-Gro, more cities across the nation will be able to enjoy the benefits of gardens and green spaces. The partnership awards grants to cities for the creation of innovative public gardens and green spaces, and recognizes mayoral stewardship in the development of urban greenscapes.
“The importance that a garden can have in a community is irrefutable,” said ScottsMiracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn. “We were inspired by the innovative ways that mayors across America are using gardens and green spaces to improve their cities. From fostering urban revitalization to developing edible gardens for its citizens, the winners of these grants truly demonstrate the power that gardens can have in a community.
“We are proud to provide support for these efforts and look forward to helping each of these cities bring their projects to life.”
The winning cities were selected by a panel of former mayors and national garden experts from a pool of more than 80 applicants. Grants, in the amount of $25,000 from ScottsMiracle-Gro, were awarded to five cities.
“Mayors understand that gardens and green spaces are important to the quality-of-life for their residents, and the Conference of Mayors, in partnership with ScottsMiracle-Gro is pleased to be able to provide grants to help them expand green spaces in their cities,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director.
2012 GRO1000 Garden and Green Space project overviews:
Upton Edible Garden is a new mayoral initiative to create community vegetable gardens that will serve as educational sites where residents can learn about growing and cooking healthy food. The site consists of 32 city-owned vacant lots, totaling almost three-fourths of an acre, located in the historic Upton neighborhood. The Upton neighborhood is significantly distressed, and has not yet seen a project like this devoted to producing local, healthy food.
Columbia, South Carolina
I-126/Greystone Boulevard Interchange Beautification Project will enhance the green space entrance way into the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, one of the primary gateways into the City of Columbia. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is one of the most successful mid-sized zoos in the United States, boasting an annual attendance that ranges from 950,000 to 1.2 million visitors. The project consists of a 6,773 sq. ft. bed on the south side of the on-ramp and an adjacent area (4,250 sq. ft.) along the north side of the on-ramp. This project will offer teaching opportunities as residents, and visitors, will learn about native plants to the region and how composting aids gardening.
Located in Cleveland’s Lower Kinsman Neighborhood, the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone is an innovative program that will repurpose 26-acres of vacant, formerly residential land for urban agriculture. This grant would be used to create a park to welcome visitors to the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone and will include signage identifying the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, a seating area, flowerbeds and other decorative landscaping, as well as a staging area for a farmers’ market and other special events.
Corpus Christi, Texas
The Lindale Park Community Garden will feature a raised garden area with 20-8×8 plots, a turf demonstration area, as well as, rain water harvesting barrels and compost bins. The garden will be constructed in Lindale Park, located along Staples Street (a major thoroughfare). In general, the population that utilizes the park is low to middle income families and many of the children qualify for reduced or free lunch at school. Families and organizations will have an opportunity to cultivate and harvest vegetables for their own meals, as well as have the chance to share or sell their goods at the community events that take place at the park.
The Quesada Gardens Initiative (QGI) is an expansion project to create a new gardening education area and public gathering space with the potential for food swapping, distribution and vending. The focus on the expansion is food production and green space development. The project will take place in a diverse and traditionally underserved community. The project location is immediately adjacent to one of the city’s major transportation arteries, which is also the neighborhood’s primary commercial corridor.