Beautification Watch Canvassers will cover Akron streets in July

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

It’s that time of year when you get rewarded for how much work you put into your lawn. Starting in July, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) canvassers will cover every street in Akron looking for homes to nominate for the Beautification Watch Awards.

Private properties receiving a Beautification Watch Award certificate will be:
1. Litter-free
2. Well-maintained, with flowers, shrubs and/or trees
3. Free of weeds and high grass
4. The best maintained property on the block-standing out from its surroundings!

HouseDoes your lawn meet the criteria above? Then you might just get an award for all of your hard work this year!

If your lawn doesn’t meet the criteria, don’t worry; there is still time for you to get out there and work on it! Here are some ways that you can spruce up your front lawn for our canvassers this year!

Ways to make your lawn stand out:

Create an entrance – Make your entry way stand out from the rest of the neighborhood. Plant colorful flowers or bushes leading up to the entrance of your house. This will draw attention to your front door and make your home more inviting. The more color you have the more yourEdge entry way will really stand out!

Create edging – Creating edges around your lawn or garden make your plants more eye-catching and make mowing around them easier. This can be done by adding a layer of mulch to the dirt. Mulching will also keep weeds at bay and give your lawn a more professionalized look.

Maintain your grass – Some of the most unappealing things to see in yards are tall grasses or weeds! Take care of your lawn by regularly mowing and removing weeds. Weeds can be taken care of with some light gardening or the help of pesticides. But remember not to over spray or you might damage your grass too.

Lawn Care on a budget:

Make your garden low-maintenance – Spread non-woven polypropylene landscape fabric over your soil. The fabric allows water to soak through to your plants’ roots and manages to keep weeds under control.Hose

Hang up your hose – Instead of running the risk of mowing over your hose, corral it! Hammer about 4 feet of galvanized steel pipe into your lawn (galvanized pipe can run as low as $7 at some home improvement stores). Then just wrap your hose around the pipe to help your lawn look clutter free and lower the risk of running over your hose with the lawnmower.

Keep your plants watered longer – Instead of watering your hanging baskets drop ice cubes in them. This will allow the plants to absorb water for a longer period of time without running up your water bill.


 Support your lawn with recycling:

Use old jugs for watering – Why buy watering cans at the store when you can recycle old laundry Jugsdetergent containers? Just drill 1/8 inch holes in the cap and a ½ inch hole above the handle to relieve pressure. Your plants will love the water and you’ll love the money you keep in your pocket!

Conserve water by using old hoses – Punch holes in your old worn out hoses with a hammer and nail. Then plug the open end of the hose, while running water. This creates a soaker hose for your garden that is inexpensive and conserves water.

Grab attention with recyclables – Recycled objects that may be laying around your house can be used to spruce up boring edges in your lawn. Old pallets are just one example of objects that can add an inexpensive and even modern look to your edging. Just cut a full size pallet into pieces and place them around your edges. Adding color or design to the wood can improve the appearance of your edging even more.

If you think your lawn meets the criteria, but could use some help standing out, use the tips above to prepare your lawn for KAB canvassers. The combination of maintaining and improving your lawn can increase your chances to win a Beautification Award! Don’t forget; though your lawn can meet the KAB criteria, it really needs to stand out to be chosen for a 2015 Beautification Award!

2015 Community Appearance Index Results are in!

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) conducted this year’s Community Appearance index on June 19, 2015. The Community Appearance Index is a tool, designed by Keep America Beautiful, to visually asses the overall appearance of communities through indicators such as litter, illegal signs, and graffiti. KAB members, along with a team of community and business representatives conducted the visual analysis using a scoring system with choices ranging from 1-4, with “1” being minimal to no litter to “4” being extremely littered.

This year’s index numbers for litter have improved since last year’s survey. The Litter Index for the city of Akron rated 1.14 this year. Temporary Illegal Signage Index rated a 1.27, reflecting an average of fewer than 5 signs illegally placed on public land in any one ward and the Graffiti Index rated a 1.07. A 2 graffiti rating would mean 1-2 small tags per ward, no larger than 6 feet by 6 feet and could be cleaned up by 1-2 people.

While all ten wards scored and average number less than 2, Ward 1 had the lowest average number of litter. Wards 1 and 8 tied this year for lowest average number of illegal signs, while Wards 6,7,5,4,3 and 1 tied for the lowest average number of graffiti amounts.

The City of Akron’s overall Litter Index decreased from last years index of 1.3 to 1.14. The graffiti index had a slight increase from 1.06 to 1.07 and the illegal temporary signage index increased from 1.08 to 1.27, when compared to last year’s ratings.

The team surveyed 5 land uses for the appearance of litter during the windshield survey: commercial, industrial, educational, recreational, and residential. This year the residential areas were more littered than the other 4 land uses while overall, the Educational and Recreational areas in Akron appeared to be the most litter-free!

This year the survey team included; KAB staff Jacqui Flahery-Ricchiuti, Helen Dauka, and William Smith, KAB Board Member; Sue Kruder, KAB Shadow Board Member; Michael McKeon, Community volunteers; Karen Reddick and Genevieve Bohank, and KAB summer interns; Lauren Brady and Shelby Baker.

Index Image

Community Volunteer Karen Reddick, was motivated to volunteer this year because she frequently took note of litter lying in and around Akron’s streets. After participating in this year’s KAB Community Appearance Index, Karen realized that the litter was not as bad as she thought; and we have the numbers to prove it!


Culmination of Cultures at North Hill for Better Block

By Helen Dauka

FotorCreatedDuring the weekend of May 15, North Main street and Cuyahoga Falls Avenue in North Hill received a temporary revitalization thanks to something called Build a Better Block.

Starting in January, Keep Akron Beautiful began meeting with Zac Lytle and Jason Roberts to discuss how KAB would be able to be part of the excitement. Early on, it was identified the Better Block team would need to secure 35 trees and 50  shrubs for the project. Because Better Block is an organization based out of Texas that travels across the country helping different communities to organize their own Better Block events, KAB was able to help put Zac and Jason in contact with the right people! After meeting with the team, it was clear that these Texas natives had a sincere passion for incorporating the existing cultures within the community into the revitalization project. Zac and Jason shared they had met with several North Hill residents over dinner where they learned more about the Bhutanese cultures. This effort to incorporate culture could be seen throughout the weekend at different artist pop-up shops and markets.

While the Bhutanese culture was a predominant theme during the weekend, North Hill’s Italian culture was also highlighted through Bocce Ball tournaments hosted by the Carovillese Club and Jacqui’s husband, Bruno, who is the Club’s president.

In addition to supporting Better Block during initial planning meetings, Keep Akron Beautiful also provided the waste and recycling receptacles for the weekend. KAB worked with volunteers from Jo-Ann Fabrics to transform a vacant lot into what would be a marketplace during the weekend. This included installing a new Adopt-A-Site that has remained after the conclusion of the event. As previously mentioned, KAB incorporated the Bhutanese culture into the flowerbed by planting marigolds, a flower that holds cultural significance to many residents in the North Hill community.


Zac Lytle, of Build a Better Block, was onsite to help guide & assist volunteers with the transformation progress!

The day involved creating mulched beds encased by bales of hay that acted as pathways and seating for people to use during the event. In addition to creating this plaza area, the Jo-Ann Fabric team helped install beautiful marigolds in two different locations.

Here’s what KAB CEO Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti had to say about the project:

 Keep Akron Beautiful was so happy to be involved in this project, with so many wonderful community partners. As a North Hill resident, myself, it was great seeing the area transformed and so many people coming into North Hill, instead of just passing through. I look forward to creating this experience across town in other areas and was so thrilled to be able to provide assistance in bringing Better Block to life!

For more information on the street plans, pop-up shops or schedule of activities, please visit the Build a Better Block website.

Thank you to Jo-Ann Fabrics for not only volunteering, but for donating $500 to our agency! Thanks to this donation, KAB was able to supply additional flowers for the Build a Better Block weekend and for beautification across Akron!




Hello from Keep Akron Beautiful’s Newest Intern!

By Shelby Baker

With the start of summer comes new internship opportunities for college students, like me. Mine just happens to be here at Keep Akron Beautiful. Hi, I’m Shelby, Keep Akron Beautiful’s newest intern. Like a few other people, I’m very passionate about recycling and learning about “Going Green”, so you could say it was almost a perfect fit for me to start my internship here at Keep Akron Beautiful.

Sadly, as my first week here at KAB already comes to a close, I reflect back on how my internship started. On my first day, as I walked up to the front door I was greeted by almost the entire KAB staff for a picture outside. After that, I was given a tour, a work station, and an outline of what KAB has planned for me this summer….and let’s just say  it’s going to be a busy summer. I’m definitely looking forward to interning at KAB is for the next few months!

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