"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, International Soap Box Derby
2016 picture in front of Derby bleachers first in slideshow above
2016 Flowerscape Director
Leah Heiser was named Flowerscape Director for the 2016 season. Heiser replaced Polly Kaczmarek, who announced her retirement in 2015 after 33 years as director of the Flowerscape Program. See the April 5, 2016 press release in our Press Room. Read about Leah, Polly and all of our staff on our About Us page.
Information on 2016 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 9 Flowerscape sites:
- North Main Street & Perkins corner (#1 on map*)
- Center and Dart (#2 on map*)
- Broadway and South (#3 on map*)
- Voris and Broadway (#4 on map*)
- State and Dart (#20 on map*)
- Canal Towpath: downtown, between Cedar and Exchange St. Bridges - Lock 1 (#14 on map*)
- Howard & Perkins Sts. in front of Innerbelt bar (#18 on map*)
- Broadway across from METRO RTA (#24 on map*)
- URW Memorial on Main St at SummaCare parking lot (#26 on map*)
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.)
Three New Flowerscapes Adorn the City in 2016
Three new beds are being added for the 2016 season:
- High St. between the Akron Art Museum and the John S. Knight Center (new in 2016)
- Cascade Plaza (new in 2016)
- Between the Cascade Plaza and the First Merit Building on S. Main Street (new in 2016)
Sponsor a Flowerscape
Current Flowerscape sites available for sponsorship:
- W. Exchange St. and Dart (one corner south at Innerbelt)
- Transit way medians: 2 between Cascade Plaza and the Brennan Building
- Bartges and Dart median
- High St. left of the Municipal Building
2016 Flowerscape Insights
Keep Akron Beautiful experienced a very successful growing year in 2016, with an unusually warm summer!
Allowing many of our annuals to reseed has been successful with Nicotiana, Rudbeckia, Verbena, Alyssum, and Cleome. This has proved to be money saving for the agency as well!
Two plants really thrived this growing season. Ornamental grass Pennisetum purpureum ‘Vertigo’ (a beautiful burgundy foliage plant that grows 4-5 ft tall) and Elephant Ear Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ (a tropical foliage plant that grows 4 ft tall) grew well in our city’s urban heat.
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
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 one-man 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 NEW 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
- The Lehner Family Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape on the transitway at Cascade Plaza
- Lowe's of Fairlawn sponsors the High St. Flowerscape site between the Akron Art Museum and the John S. Knight Center (new in 2016)
- Medical Mutual of Ohio is the sponsor of the Mill and Main Streets Flowerscape (Large Median)
- The Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at Grant Street (Large Median)
- The Orr Family Foundation sponsors the Howard & Ridge Street corner Flowerscape (Cuyahoga Valley Railway Station)
These 2016 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.