Columbus, Ohio USA
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Community pulls together for Goodale Park beautification
By Beverly Mullet Randall
June 2008 Issue


© Photos by Beverly Mullet Randall

Dedication Ceremony (L to R): Jan Valentic, Senior VP, Marketing, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.; Gail Cunningham, Senior VP, Keep America Beautiful; Jim King, Senior VP, Corporate Affairs, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. (Behind Deborah Pryce); Congresswoman Deborah Pryce; Jim Hagedorn, CEO, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.; Mayor Michael B. Coleman; Bill Dawson, Franklin Park Conservatory Growing to Grow Coordinator; Pat Lewis, VP, Friends of Goodale Park; Rich Shank, Chief Environmental Officer, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

With a little help from its friends, this year’s Friends of Goodale Park “Planting of the Annuals” on Saturday, May 10 became one of the more ambitious spring beautification events in the nation. More than 70 community volunteers spread over 720 bags of mulch and planted a truckload of thousands of annual plants and ornamental grasses donated by Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Volunteers cleaned up litter, mulched, and planted throughout the park and replanted six beds around the pond in preparation for the Friends’ planned Tête-à-Tête Falls sculpture.

Earlier this year, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company awarded a $12,000 grant in cash and product to the Friends of Goodale Park in cooperation with Keep Columbus Beautiful. The grant was one of five Scotts Community Green Space grants awarded to various cities around the county this year to support similar community collaborations.

Scotts Community Green Space Program is their national initiative to encourage millions of people to maintain healthy lawns and beautiful gardens, while being good environment stewards. As part of this educational effort, Scotts employees distributed door hanger literature about water conservation and lawn and garden care to residents in Victorian and Italian Villages throughout the day.

The Saturday event kicked off the initial phase of the grant which will be used to provide plants for an expansion and re-design of the beds surrounding the lake, to re-seed and re-establish the turf area used by dog owners and to extend water lines for planting areas around the lake.

The Goodale Park revitalization effort complemented Mayor Michael Coleman’s efforts to make Columbus “America’s 21st Century City,” and the Mayor was on hand to dedicate the event. Recently, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department also awarded the Friends of Goodale Park a $1,000 grant under the department’s Landscape Enhancement/ Beautification in Public Space program. The City of Columbus grant will provide some of the funds needed to contract for watering Goodale Park’s flower beds during summer dry periods.

Before the “planting of the green space” began, Stacy Walters, a registered kinesiotherapist, master gardener, and the fitness director at the the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s Wellness Center in Marysville, Ohio, led the volunteers in an exercise session. Walters emphasized that gardening can be a stressful, rigorous activity, so she recommends gardening warmup, training, and cool-down exercises and stretches. More information about gardening conditioning and instructional videos are available online at

Volunteers in full swing.

Soon after the planting began, Bill Dawson, Franklin Park Conservatory Growing to Green coordinator, led a potting clinic for children. Kids were shown potting tips, such as breaking apart the root ball for better growth, and decorated their own pots. Dawson said the Franklin Park Conservatory Growing to Green Program is a community gardening program of over 130 gardening projects, both vegetable gardens and beautification efforts, involving a wide range of groups including neighborhoods, schools, churches, and food pantries. He noted that the gardening projects immediately make neighborhoods greener and then lead to additional benefits, making neighborhoods safer, and fostering inter-generational and cross-cultural interaction.

In the late morning, there was a dedication ceremony. Speakers included emcee Gayle Cunningham of Keep America Beautiful; Pat Lewis, Friends of Goodale Park vice-president; Mayor Michael Coleman; Sherri Palmer, of Keep Columbus Beautiful; and Jim Hagedorn, chief executive officer of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Congresswoman Deborah Pryce also spoke, noting how this local effort was part of a national movement. All the speakers thanked the volunteers for their efforts.

With the speeches done, pictures and sound bites taken and video shot, the crowd began to disperse. Asked if he had any parting thoughts or comments to add regarding Goodale Park, Mayor Coleman said, “Goodale Park is one of the best parks in all America. I love this park. I come here all the time.”

Finally, volunteers and Scotts employees went back to work, hoisting bags of mulch into wheel barrels and starting out to finish the effort. Balancing a flat of annuals on each shoulder as he walked through the park towards a planting bed, Greg Maynard, FGP board member, was asked if he had any comments about the day. Without stopping to talk, he said over his shoulder, “It’s a delight to have everyone here helping!”

Join the Friends on Saturday June 14 and June 21, 2008, for work day events beginning a 9 a.m. in preparation for ComFest. For more informtion, visit their Web site

The Planting of the Annuals event was organized through the combined effort of the Friends of Goodale Park (FGP), Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Keep Columbus Beautiful (KCB), the City of Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, and community volunteers. Many of the volunteers were members of the Miracle-Gro Capital Scholars, a group of local young people that Scotts has mentored since grade school.

(left) Mayor Michael Coleman and Congresswoman Deborah Pryce enjoy the morning.
(right) Local jazz band Urban Jazz Coalition donated their services to entertain the crowd.

(left) FGP board member Andy Klein wearing his Keep America Beautiful sweatshirt helps plant and mulch.
(right) Bill Dawson, Franklin Park Conservatory Growing to Green coordinator, leads the Potting Clinic.


(left) Greg Maynard, FGP board member, gets volunteers started.
(right) Scotts Miracle-Gro employees Al Kiekhoefer (left) and Albert Pizzuti help with the beautification.
Pizzuti lives "down the street in Italian Vililage."

Keep America Beautiful paver in Goodale Park's Keep America Beautiful Plaza

© 2008 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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