Flowerscape Program

"Thank you for the beautiful flowers this year. I want to let you know that we appreciate you and your awesome crew. We have received compliments from visitors from around the world on the flowers."

- Joe Mazur, President & CEO of International Soap Box Derby (2011-2017)

Year 2016 picture in front of Derby bleachers first in slideshow above


Flowerscape Director

Leah Heiser was named Flowerscape Director in 2016. Heiser replaced Polly Kaczmarek, who announced her retirement in 2015 after 33 years as director of the Flowerscape Program. In 2017, Keep Akron Beautiful dedicated the Alexander Park Flowerscape in her honor. Read about the dedication on our blog. Read about Leah and all of our staff on our About Us page.


View the entire 2017 Flowerscape Photo Album on Facebook.


Information on Removal of Flowerscape Sites

Due to the sewer project, the improvements for Route 77 exits and entrances at Broadway, and the Innerbelt project, KAB will be losing the following Flowerscape sites:

  1. North Main Street & Perkins corner (#1 on map*)Broadway and South
  2. Center and Dart (#2 on map*) 
  3. Broadway and South (#3 on map*)
  4. Voris and Broadway (#4 on map*)
  5. State and Dart (#20 on map*)
  6. Canal Towpath: downtown, between Cedar and Exchange St. Bridges - Lock 1 (#14 on map*)
  7. Howard & Perkins Sts. in front of Innerbelt bar (#18 on map*)
  8. Broadway across from METRO RTA (#24 on map*)
  9. URW Memorial on Main St at SummaCare parking lot (#26 on map*)
  10. Transit way on Cascade Plaza

Some of these beds may return in different configurations as projects are completed. You can *view a map in PDF marking these Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape locations. (Map created in 2013.)


New Flowerscapes Adorn the City

One new bed is being added for the 2018 season:

  1. Glendale Cemetary

Two new beds were added for the 2017 season and one existing bed is back to being planted:

  1. Reimagining Civic Commons at Lock 4
  2. Pedestrian Bridge
  3. The Matthews Hotel Monument - being planted again following construction


Sponsor a Flowerscape

Current Flowerscape sites available for sponsorship:

  • W. Exchange St. and Dart (one corner south at Innerbelt)
  • Bartges and Dart median
  • Lower Lock 3
  • Municipal Building
  • Church St
  • Lion Bed


Become a Flowerscape sponsor or donate toward this city beautification program today!


2017 Flowerscape Insights

Keep Akron Beautiful experienced an unusual growing season this year, with a wet spring and summer drought!

It was a rough start for many drought tolerant annuals, however, Geraniums, Zinnias, and Marigolds finally started to establish around July. Coleus  ( a foliage plant that comes in numerous colors ) and Angelonia ( a beautiful flower that looks like a snap dragon yet blooms consistently all season) really thrived this summer.

Allowing many of our annuals to reseed has been successful with Nicotiana, Rudbeckia, and Cleome. This has proven to be money saving for the agency as well!

This season, the Flowerscape crew made an extra effort to save and transplant all milkweed plants found in our gardens.  Milkweed is a native wildflower and is the host plant for Monarch butterflies. We have allowed Milkweed to grow in and among the Karl Forester grasses found in front of Lock 3- Please check it out!  By allowing Milkweed to have a place in our Flowerscapes, we are not only helping Monarch butterflies find a home but also showing the community that we beautify our city through responsible environmental management! See PowerPoint on how Flowerscapes aid in our health.

Beware that the Downy Mildew problem still exists on the common variety of Impatiens. The Flowerscape crew uses New Guinea Impatiens as a substitute, since it is not susceptible to the disease.


History of Flowerscape

Flowerscape began in 1982 when Judy Isroff, KAB's Executive Coordinator, was confident that Akron could emulate Cuyahoga Falls, its neighbor to the North, and managed to convince the KAB Board of Trustees that a similar beautification program was worth pursuing. 

KAB hired a part-time Flowerscape Director and contracted with the Portage Path Mental Health Center for the labor force.  KAB planted approximately 17,250 flowers  and paid a flower bill of $2,020.12. With the direction and assistance of the City Planning Department, the following were the first seven sites to be planted: 

Main Street Planters

South Main Street Median: at Goodrich

West Market Street & Rand:  corner at Innerbelt

Derby Downs

Broadway & South:  triangle near Expressway

Voris & Broadway:  two exits at Expressway exit

Grant Street:  flower beds at Exchange, Wheeler (6 beds) and at Triplett Blvd


Throughout the years, the KAB Flowerscape program has grown from these 7 sites and the annual cost of flowers has grown from $2,000 to over $18,000. Since the start of the program in 1982, over 1 million flowers have been planted to beautify the City of Akron!

In 2012, there were KAB Flowerscapes sites on every traffic island, city corner and expressway ramp downtown. In addition, there were floral displays at Alexander Park, Cotter Park, Lock III Park and Judith Bear Isroff Park! The 39 beautification locations in 2012 had over 36,000 plants installed and the most advanced computerized timers controlling the sprinkling systems. The 2013 Flowerscape budget was $140,000 but as the program has become more efficient and professional over the years, the agency has managed to keep the budget stable.

The degree of pride generated by these oases of color is well worth the continued support of the private sector, from which supplemental monies for this public project needs to be raised annually.

It takes a full-time Flowerscape Director months to do landscape plans and place nursery orders. Then, just about the time of our largest community volunteer effort, Clean Up Akron Month-April, our paid Forewoman and 2-person crew are preparing the beds for another successful season of blooming color!


Thank you to our Flowerscape Sponsors:

- Akron Beacon Journal provides in-kind sponsorship for the Flowerscape at Lock 3


- Akron Children's Hospital sponsors the Flowerscape at E. Exchange and Dart


- The Akron Garden Club is sponsoring the  Flowerscape at Cascade Plaza (left of First Merit Bldg)


- Akron Community Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at the Corner of Cedar and Maple Streets


- The Henry V & Frances W Christenson Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at Hardesty Park


- The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at Mill Street (small island/median) and Planters


- Dominion sponsors the Flowerscape site located at Civic Mall - Charles Goodyear Park (across from City Hall).


- The Lehner Family Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape on Cascade Plaza


- Lowe's of Fairlawn sponsors the High St. Flowerscape site between the Akron Art Museum and the John S. Knight Center


- Medical Mutual of Ohio previously sponsored the Mill and Main Streets Flowerscape (Large Median) -- However, this bed will not be planted in 2018 due to construction.


- The Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at Grant Street (Large Median)Hardesty Park


- The Orr Family Foundation sponsors the Howard & Ridge Street corner Flowerscape (Cuyahoga Valley Railway Station) and the new Glendale Cemetary site


These 2018 sponsors provide $3,500 of support to Keep Akron Beautiful, in order to maintain the Flowerscapes listed. All of the donors are recognized throughout the year on the Flowerscape signs in the respective beds. 

See more about donors on our Giving Page. Become a Keep Akron Beautiful sponsor today.