KAB At A Glance

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*KAB  Littering is Wrong Too, Pick It Up and Play Trash Ball banners pictured above. (See Littering is Wrong Too explained below. Pick It Up and Play Trash Ball was one of the first KAB campaigns, making those banners historic and practically antique!)


KAB At-A-Glance is a summary of our agency's community programs and their current successes/stats in our beloved Akron, Ohio. The mission of Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) is: Improving Akron’s quality of life through beautification and responsible environmental management.




Each November 15 for America Recycles Day (ARD), KAB partners with the River Valley Paper Company and the Akron public & private schools to boost mixed paper (fiber) recycling rates from October – November through the national Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl program. In November 2018, a total of 34 schools and surrounding community recycled 24.36 tons (or 48,720 lbs.) of paper, a slight increase from 2017. For more information on this year's competition, read our blog post.


i want to be recycled trash truck promo


"I want to be recycled" ads were still being run in rotation on City of Akron trash trucks in 2018. This is a continuation of the 2013 Keep America Beautiful, Inc. / Ad Council public service announcement featuring three recyclable commodities wishing for their 2nd life as a recycled product. As an affiliate, Keep Akron Beautiful localized the ads to use in print media (in 2014) and on City of Akron trash trucks (from 2014 to current) as a reminder to recycle every day.


The Akron Marathon continues to use the recycling frames purchased from a 2013 Coca-Cola grant written by Keep Akron Beautiful to help them increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill.




Keep Akron Beautiful is a sponsor for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo, the yearly Akron Public Schools science fair, awarding cash prizes to outstanding environmental projects. On Saturday, January 26, 2019, the KAB sponsor judges awarded 3 prizes ($100, $75 and $50) at the 63rd annual event held January 27, 2018 at North High School. Winning 2019 projects focused on recycling plastics to use in construction material to reduce global waste, a comparison of earthworms and red worms for efficient composting, and a comparison of chemical versus non-chemical cleaning products. Read the press release.


blue heron homecoming




Keep Akron Beautiful staff signed up and coordinated volunteers for the Saturday, May 5, 2018 Akron Waterways Renewed! Blue Heron Homecoming, which was held at the Water Reclamation Facility, 2460 Akron-Peninsula Rd.  





In 2018, the City of Akron continued to display the Keep Akron Beautiful Littering is Wrong Too banners. These banners were purchased with 2013 grant funds from the Ohio EPA and Keep America Beautiful, Inc. as part of a national litter public awareness campaign. The banners/street flags show often humorous wrongdoings that can be compared with "littering is wrong too" and are displayed in the spring and summer months in downtown Akron and around The University of Akron, along with the Pick It Up and Play Trash Ball green banners. See banners* slide show at the top of this page for example.




KAB had 26,275 volunteers donate 762,458 hours to planting trees/bulbs/shrubs/plants/flowers, litter/graffiti removal, source-separating recycling, cleaning & improving lakes/canals/wetlands (incl. Nesmith Lake, Summit Lake, Wilbeth Wetlands and Ohio/Erie Canal), education, environmental promotion, painting/landscaping public venues and parks, and more as part of the Keep Akron Beautiful mission. The volunteer value-of-time invested in Keep Akron Beautiful for the time period of July 2017 through June 2018has an estimated value of $38.20. Meaning that Keep Akron Beautiful leveraged community resources to return back into the community $38.20 for every $1 donated or awarded towards programming. 



day of action

The Community Pride Trailer (CPT) will reopen in March/April 2019 depending on weather. In the 2018 season, 75 groups consisting of 1,218 volunteers donated 6,557.5 man hours to remove 15.49 tons of litter, 31 tires and graffiti from 1 site, as well as plant 1,230 flowers and trees, paint 4 buildings, and install 8 community gardens. Thank you to Dominion and Citizens Bank for their initial donations and to Citizens Bank, Akronite sponsors and various beautification donors for keeping it running each season. Community Pride Trailer pictured left)

drump trailer Akron neighborhood reborn


The  Litter and Illegal Dump Cleanup Trailer will reopen in March/April 2019 depending on weather. For the 2018 season, 47 groups totaling 959 volunteers donated 5,818 man hours to remove 8.64 tons of litter, 1 junk car, 20 tires, and grafitti from 2 sites. Volunteers also used the trailer to paint 6 buildings, plant 1,350 flowers, and install 1 community garden. Volunteers cleaned waterways, playgrounds/community centers, city parks and roadsides.Thank you to Citizens Bank for keeping it running each season. (KAB Litter and Illegal Dump Cleanup Trailer pictured right.)


Some community-specific KAB trailer projects:

 adopt a site carovillese

The CPT was used at multiple projects in 2018, making a large impact. Some of the impacts included: a cleanup of the grounds at the Carovillese Club in North Hill, inspiring neighbors on Cuyahoga Falls Avenue to keep their properties clean, a new park installation at Prentiss Park in Kenmore, and a building restoration of the Akron Center for the Blind near the heart of downtown.beautification summit lake


Through a Keep America Beautiful and Lowe's Community Partner Grant, Keep Akron Beautiful received $10,000 to revitalize the Elaine Evans Memorial Children's Garden. Check the album out on Facebook. This site was contributing to illegal dumping and other crimes in the Summit Lake community. The Community Pride Trailer was used to help remove large amounts of brush, excavate landscaping, and install new flowerbeds consisting of over 402 plants and bulbs and 3 trees! This project engaged over 60 volunteers in 2017 from groups like, Lowe's Heroes of Fairlawn OEC, Goodyear, Let's Grow Akron, First Congregational Church of Hudson, KGK Gardening & Landscape, Advanced Arboriculture and more! In Summer 2018, the project was completed by Lowe's Heroes and a group from First Serve. They were able to paint the canal boat replica, mulch the beds, and do other general clean up. Since this project was implemented, there have been significantly less illegal dumps in the area..


Keep Akron Beautiful's Clean Up Akron MONTH, coincides with Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup™  and took place throughout the month of April. In 2018, its 37th year, 3,509 volunteers, of which 937 were students, removed 17.77 tons of litter. This includes the annual Earth Day cleanup at Summit Lake, in its 6th year, where 282 volunteers removed 3.47 tons of litter and 20 tires in 3 hours. Keep Akron Beautiful purchased waders for the cleanup groups working around water in 2017, which helped volunteers retrieve submerged debris from Summit Lake.  The annual Super Saturday Picnic was held, April 28, 2018, at the Akron Zoo for volunteers who came for a free lunch and awards ceremony planned by our volunteers and local sponsors.

cuam volunteers

Clean Up Akron Month (CUAM) supplies packing is done-in-a-day each year by a great group of students at North High School led by Intervention Specialist, Jen Lyle. This group of volunteers agree to test their counting skills, ability to follow directions, cooperation skills and stamina in order to stand at the long table loaded with supplies and pack them up according to the volunteers list so all CUAM participants can clean up Akron, Ohio. Pictured is the 2018 volunteer group who packed supplies.




Two contracts present earned income opportunities for litter programming   revenue: One with the Neighborhood Assistance Department in which KAB assists Inspectors by removing posted dumping violations from private property and the second is through Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA), in which KAB litter crews do bi-weekly litter sweeps at 16 selected developments. Through a beautification subsidy with the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), the agency has been able to continue Flowerscapes at three Summit County sites within the DAP's Special Improvement District.




In 2018, Keep Akron Beautiful handled the public graffiti eradication of 79 public properties with 44 community service-sentenced offenders for a total of 90 hours. Graffiti removal services are also available to private citizens for a nominal fee of $50 for most jobs.




2016 kab flowerscape and beds

 Keep Akron Beautiful, the one investment guaranteed to grow, raised approximately over $115,000 from the private sector primarily to plan, plant and maintain the current 32 Flowerscape sites in downtown Akron, in various sites on Market St, at Alexander Park and Derby Downs. The number of sites is due to increase as roadway construction plans are complete. In the 2018 season, the Flowerscape crew installed two new beds, one in Highland Square near Mr. Zub's Deli and the other at Glendale Cemetery. They also took over the Mull Circle bed, a previous Adopt-A-Site, that needed soil maintenance. A total of 27,919 flowers were purchased for Flowerscapes at a cost of $18,320. (Pictured is Keep Akron Beautiful's own Flowerscape and adjoining beds at their 850 E Market St office.)


Flowerscapes for sale! For the 14th year donors could sponsor the cost of a site, a minimum of $4,000, and have the opportunity to put their name/logo on the signage for a year. There were 10 corporate or foundation contributors in 2018 that provided the funding, or the equivalent in-kind support, to be naming partners: Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Children's Hospital, The Akron Garden Club, Akron Community Foundation, The Henry V. and Frances W. Christenson Foundation, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, Dominion, The Lehner Family Foundation, Lowe's, The Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation, and The Orr Foundation, who sponsors two sites--at the Northside Boarding Station of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and a new 2018 garden at Glendale Cemetery.


Keep Akron Beautiful mailed out Beautification Watch Awards in September 2018 to 3,601 unsuspecting Akron residents and 198 companies/institutions that are setting the bar for private property beautification in all 10 wards of the city. More than 90 trained volunteers (45 volunteer teams of 2 or more) canvassed the city in their own cars throughout July to select properties that fit 5 criteria. This simple, non-competitive way of saying thank you has become a highly coveted award. The newly created route maps in 2018 done by City of Akron Cartographer Wendy Doyle allowed us to give volunteers more manageable routes than in previous years. Thank you to all of these volunteers from organizations like Junior League, Rotary Club of Akron, City of Akron, City of Akron Council and Signet Jewelers, as well as our long-time and new volunteer friends of the agency. (Neighbors are welcome to nominate neighbors. Nominations taken during the month of July.)


Overwood adopt a site



The Flowerscape Director is supervising 63 volunteer groups gardening Adopt-A-Sites on public land located in all 10 wards of the city. In 2018, there were 6 new sites: Urban Vision, Summit Lake Apartments, REACH Opportunity Center, Bon Sue Apartments, William E Fowler Sr. Apartments and Wilbeth and Arlington Homes.  AAS volunteers purchased and planted plants through the agency. A total of 14,697 flowers were purchased at a cost of $4,029, with order receiving bulk discount rate.



Flowerscape Director Leah Heiser extends some gardens to decorate for fall. This year, the Children's Hospital Flowerscape was done with fall plantings due to construction that prohibited the planting of spring flowers.

childrens hospital fall flowerscape


A beautification and an educational partnership beginning in late fall 2017 will allow Keep Akron Beautiful to work alongside Urban Vision Ministries in North Hill, to install a low maintenance garden in an area across the street from their location, which will beautify the neighborhood. Flowerscape Director, Leah Heiser, and Urban Vision Director, Rodney Matthews, are working together to have the Urban Vision children grow some of the plants in their Aquaponics Greenhouse, which will be planted in spring 2018. The Boy Scouts planted bulbs in 2017 so that there are spring blooms.


In 2018 the Keep America Beautiful partnership provided an opportunity for Keep Akron Beautiful to write another Lowe's Grant benefitting the Akron community. This year, KAB wrote the grant for Case CLC to get an on-site greenhouse slated for 2019!




Keep Akron Beautiful has managed a litter and illegal dumping collection program for 37 years in 2018. Our 2 supervisors, under the direction of a full-time Litter Collection Coordinator, canvass the city’s expressways, roadsides and parks daily, year-round.


The agency collaborated again in 2018 with the HELP Foundation groups to provide litter cleanup hours in neighborhood parks so participants could be paid through these organizations’ employment programs, which allowed our litter crews to focus on the heavier traveled streets.


Each fall, the Flowerscape crew collects spent plant material in kraft paper bags and delivers tons of yard waste to the city’s leaf composting yard for recycling into re-useable soil amendments for the city parks.  Litter Collection crews normally use KAB logo litter collection bags which are heavy-metal free and are designed to biodegrade in as little as 9 months.




Long-time volunteer Tom Deuri with KAB recycling and litter receptacles

(explained in further detail below) at a community event.


KAB loans out portable litter receptacles for civic events to keep litter under control.  Organizations are required to sign an acceptance form that they will make every effort to return the 45-gallon containers (worth around $8 each) to KAB following the event to be used by others.  From July 2017 through July 2018 businesses, city and/or community members used 2,101 litter receptacles. The number is increased from 2017, which was recorded at 1,678. Akron area organizations use these for events like events like the Akron Open Tennis Championships, and you are likely to see them at Soap Box Derby, Lock 3, Stan Hywet Hall and more.


KAB’s mixed recycling loan out program Recycling-on-the Go! - is available to the public for civic events, as well.  A metal frame and 2 large plastic bags are available for borrowing through KAB.  This began as a pilot program in 2009 and was made possible through a grant received from the Nestle Corporation. From July 2017 through July 2018, businesses, city and community borrowed a total of 423, a slight increase from 2016's reported 345. These receptacles have been affixed with stickers that show acceptable single stream recyclables that align with Akron curbside recycling (Smart Carts). The largest amount of recycling in one venue is usually the Akron Police Department Motorcycle Rally, where guests can give plastic another life by recycling. Another group, the Greek Fest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron has been slowly incorporating recycling into their yearly event and had reduced their litter and increased their recycling containers in 2016!


ACBC (Aluminum Cans for Burned Children) – KAB encourages can collection to benefit the burn unit at The Children’s Hospital of Akron and support area fire departments in their philanthropy. Separate and take your cans to any Akron Fire Dept. and put in their Akron City recycling toters outside their facilities.


Need more information on the recycling receptacle loan and ACBC programs? Paste keepakronbeautiful.org/rent-a-receptacle to your browser.




Keep Akron Beautiful conducted their 17th Community Appearance Index survey, a requirement of membership in the Keep America Beautiful, Inc. network for close to 564 state and local affiliates. On a scale of 0 - 4, a drive-by tour of all 10 wards rated Akron an overall litter index of 1.13. Volunteers also rated the amount of graffiti at 1.00. Temporary illegal signage rated a 1.28. All ten wards scored extremely low, with the highest litter index score being only 1.37. Ward 6 and Ward 8 have worked especially hard – they scored the lowest possible score of a 1.00. 




presidents award 2018



Keep America Beautiful recognized Keep Akron Beautiful for high performance within the national network again in 2018. Called the President's Circle Award, it is an award the agency has received ever since Keep America Beautiful started giving it in 2003. Digital emblems have been given since 2015 as tokens of this award . The award is announced each year at the conference in January. We thank Keep America Beautiful for the honor.

kruder 2018Keep Akron Beautiful honored Sue Kruder as 2018 Volunteer of the Year for her longstanding commitment of volunteerism and support of the agency. Being a part of the KAB since its beginning under the first Executive Director Judy Isroff, Sue has volunteered for nearly every program, from Clean Up Akron Month to Beautification Watch canvassing to delivering keep ohio beautiful board member of the year 2018Arbor Day trees. She is a current Board Member Emeritus, faithful foundation grant funder and continues to participate in the Community Appearance Index. The award was given by the Mayor at the 2018 Green the Scene fundraiser. Pictured left to right: Mayor Dan Horrigan, Volunteer-of-the-Year Sue Kruder, and current KAB Executive Director Jacqui Ricchiuti.


Keep Ohio Beautiful also honored Sue Kruder (above) as Keep Ohio Beautiful's Volunteer of the Year for 2018 along with Keep Akron Beautiful Board Member, Kim Haws Falasco, for Board Member of the Year for 2018. Pictured left is Kim Haws Falasco who was presented her award at the January Board Meeting.









If you would like to donate to Keep Akron Beautiful programming, you may donate online or send donations to Keep Akron Beautiful, 850 E. Market St., Akron OH 44305-2424. You can also donate to the Keep Akron Beautiful endowment fund of Akron Community Foundation at https://www.akroncf.org/GivingYourWay/GiveNow.aspx?fn=Keep+Akron+Beautiful+Endowment+Fund or by calling 330-376-8522.




Keep Akron Beautiful brings me back to the moment…When rushing from one place to another you get a glimpse of a Flowerscape that catches your breath. I realize that no matter how noble my intentions for the day it all begins at home. Whether it is recycling, refurbishing or beautifying an area KAB knows its mission and I know that they have enhanced my community with their passion and drive.


Marilyn Keith, Former President of Akron City Council, Ward 8 Councilperson



Flowerscapes make a great border or focus for travel photos and have been spotted on two travel guides/blogs:

Dang Travelers - http:www.dangtravelers.com/akron-ohio-visit/

Lonely Planet - https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/great-lakes/ohio/travel-tips-and-articles/under-the-radar-usa-music-murals-and-museums-in-akron-ohio/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d2757c30



Keep Akron Beautiful Honors Former Flowersc
ape Director, Polly Kaczmarek
The beautification
and litter prevention nonprofit
honors their first Flowerscape Director, now retired, through a
dedication of the
known garden at
Alexander Park
off West Market Street
Akron, Ohio
On the morning of September 25, 2017, the
Keep Akr
on Beautiful organization
dedicated a Flowerscape
recognize and
program, alongside first Executive Director, Judy
Isroff, and Board of Directors Member, Vince Lobello.
Polly Kaczmarek,
the agency’s
year Flowerscape Director
retired in 2
always favored
Alexander Park
her employ
. T
he beautiful garden was
ry new and unusual flowers,
but in addition, the site
a special place
in Polly’s
heart, because
it was
where she
married her husband, Jeff, in
Fittingly, t
he exact location
of the
sign is
in the area
son, Jason Simmons,
walked her
down the aisle
wedding day