Keep Akron Beautiful Honors Former CEO Paula Davis

When Paula Davis, KAB CEO of 26 years retired in the winter of 2014, the remaining staff and new CEO, Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti knew they needed to thank her for all she had done in a big way. The impact Paula Davis had on not only the agency, but on the Akron community was too big for just a simple ‘thank you.’

So when planning for the 2015 planting season, Keep Akron Beautiful decided they would dedicate a Flowerscape to Paula Davis. Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) chose the Flowerscape located at North Main Street and Perkins, at the corner, which was one of Davis’ favorite Flowerscapes. This Flowerscape pays tribute to Paula Davis, who helped the Akron community bloom with the same vibrancy and beauty as the white alyssum, vinca, zinnia, gomphrena and canna flowers.

Since 1989, Davis’ work through KAB has had a lasting impact on not just the agency but the City of Akron. The agency’s Flowerscape program is considered a “model” program within the national network. In addition to the $600,000 Davis raised through extensive grant writing that sustains the agency’s annual operating budget, she also introduced the Dreamscape Raffle in 2004. Annually, private sector donations must be solicited to implement the urban beautification program, but the countywide Dreamscape Raffle was instrumental to supplement direct mail fundraising efforts. Keep America Beautiful, Inc. has awarded the agency third place recognition for comprehensive program excellence of affiliates serving similar populations and a President’s Circle Award annually since 2003.

Paula Davis was awarded the national Sue Smith Leadership Award at the organization’s 60th anniversary conference in Washington, D.C. in January, 2013 for exemplary contributions to the Keep America Beautiful National Network. The league of Women Voters® of the Akron Area recognized Paula Davis for her dedication to protecting and preserving our natural heritage by declaring her a Champion for the Environment in the spring of 2014.

And now, Keep Akron Beautiful would like to say thank you to Paula Davis for her commitment to Keep Akron Beautiful, through the dedication of a Flowerscape.

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Flowerscape Paula- 2

Dreamscape Makeover Complete!

Last week, KAB wrapped the 2015 Dreamscape makeover, marking another successful year! Our grand prize winners, Michael & Karen Kaufman of Bath Ohio begin meeting with KAB and Suncrest Gardens to discuss their Dreamscape Wish List. Dan Van Voorhis and Russ Hench, lead landscape designers from Suncrest, came up with a plan to transform the Kaufman’s backyard, including the removal of an existing wooden deck, installation of a patio, seat wall, fire pit and new landing from the back door.
Dreamscape Before #2A

The Kaufman’s felt their wooden deck was too large, and often went unused. The winners are avid travelers, which meant they also wanted to make sure that the new landscaping would be low maintenance.

planUnfortunately, the Kaufman’s wish list exceeded their $10,000 prize. Rather than cut part of their dream plan, they decided to pay for the additional work and material, working with our vendors partners to have the firepit, seat wall, and landing included. Dan and Russ met with the Kaufmans multiple times to help them with material selection. Attention to detail was crucial for this makeover because the homeowners would be travelling the entire duration of the makeover! With the guidance of Suncrest Gardens and coordination of KAB, our 22 vendor partners were able to transform the Bath backyard into the stuff of dreams—all before the Kaufman’s returned home!

Dreamscape After #2B
Prior to leaving for vacation, the Kaufman’s had part of their deck removed. When they return, they plan to have steps from the deck installed to lead to their new patio! Work began for our vendor partners on August 3rd, with R. G. Thomas Landscape and Design, INC. prepping the area where the new patio would go. That included temporarily removing an existing brick pathway and getting the ground all level. IMG_0847



With hardscaping materials from W.L. Tucker Supplies Company, INC., the RG Thomas crew was able to begin laying the groundwork for the new patio! Tucker provided pavers for the patio, firepit, stone steps, caps for the seating wall columns, limestone and polysand.




Russ and Dan advised throughout the week to make sure that project was on track with what the homeowners had envisioned! (Pictured about are Russ Hench and Dave Thomas– of R.G. Thomas)



By day three, the patio really started to take shape. Graf’s Landscape & Design took care of laying the pavers for the portion of the IMG_0893patio that would connect the remaining wooden deck, while Naragon Irrigation worked on installing irrigation for the new flower beds that would come later that week.


On the fourth day, it was  time for Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio LLC. to chip in with the patio work, as well as reinstall the brick walkway that had been removed earlier. In addition to the labor and equipment Nick’s provided for the project, straw and grass seed were also donated. Lawns go through a lot during the makeover process and usually need a little help recovering post-makeover!

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Terrascape made several trips to the Dreamscape site, delivering topsoil and mulch, donated by KB BioEnergy. The crews from Terrascape also helped get the new beds ready with the topsoil for the KAB Flowerscape Crew that would come in to plant the next day.

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Bright and early on August 7, the KAB crew arrived to plant & mulch! Dayton Nurseries provided beautiful Blue Spruces, Atrovirens, Viburnums, Atrovirens, Spirea, and Fine Line Buckthorns (those are the trees & shrubs for those that are not as horticulturally inclined!) while Pam’s Perennial Plant Farm LLC donated Reed Grass, Geraniums and Coral Bells. In addition to the donated new plants, the KAB crew was tasked with transplanting the Kaufman’s plants that had lined the old deck.

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Tim’s Custom Electric installed a series of up-lights and path lights, donated from Cascade Lighting. Graf Growers Garden Center donated two potted plants, frame the new landing with a vibrant pop of color, and will thrive in the full sun on the patio!
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In addition to a Shepard’s hook and hanging basket, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center donated a beautiful birdbath placed in the landscaping where a stump had originally been, prior to Advanced Arboriculture grinding it away! Karen Kaufman had expressed how she loves bird watching, so the new birdbath should compliment her hobby!
Keep Akron Beautiful would like to thank all of our 2015 vendor partners for their support including Circle K and Main Street Gourmet for providing beverages, ice, cookie dough, and drinks for the Vendor Partner crew members. The agency also gives special thanks to Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., Star Printing Co. Inc. & YES Press Printing Co., for their donations marketing and communications expertise. Thank you also for the support from Wilson Plumbing and Heating Inc. and Paul’s Greenhouse!
Dreamscape After #1B
Thank you to Shelby Baker, our summer intern from the University of Akron. For the first time ever, we will have a video of the Dreamscape week thanks to Shelby!
Finally a big thank you to Bruce Ford who provided the before and after shots of the makeover.

For more pictures, check out our Facebook album!

Reusing Your Kitchen

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

Replacing items in your kitchen to make them reusable can be very beneficial. Check out this list of 10 things you can make reusable in your kitchen!

Paperless Paper Towels:Paper Towel

  • Although this sounds bizarre, making paperless paper towels for the kitchen can save you a lot of cash! Instead of having to grab a new paper towel every time there’s a spill, rip off one of your cloth towels, clean up, and throw it in the dirty laundry for next time. After you’ve washed them all, wind them up and use them again. This saves you money and a trip to the store for a new roll!

Coffee Creamer Containers:

  • Coffee CreamersCoffee Creamer containers are a surprisingly good storage unit for snacks! After you’re done using all the creamer, wash it out and rip off the label. Then fill them up with any snack you need to store. This works great for those of us with tiny kitchens or anyone who takes trips frequently.




Dryer Sheets:Dryer Sheets

  • Okay so this one is not really kitchen based but why not make reusable dryer sheets? These sheets are very simple to make and can last for more than one load of laundry, saving you loads of money on store bought sheets!


  • TotesDon’t fit into an old t-shirt? Use it to store fruits or vegetables in your kitchen. Cut an old shirt into a tote and hang it somewhere in your kitchen. You can use it to store fruits and vegetables saving you more cupboard space for other foods.



Sandwich Bags:

  • Sandwich bagsIf you like to pack your lunch for work consider using reusable sandwich bags. All that’s needed is some fabric and freezer safe plastic bags. When you’re done at the end of the day just wash them out and reuse them for tomorrows lunch! No more buying boxes of plastic bags that get thrown out at the end of the day!




Coffee Filter:

  • Coffee FilterGiving a reusable coffee filter to the coffee drinker in your life might be the best thing gift you could give them! Simply use the filter, wash, and repeat tomorrow morning. Make them for yourself or craft them up for gifts!





Dust Pans:Dust Pans

  • For those of us college kids who can’t afford fancy brooms and dust pans here is a cheap and easy alternative. Cut a dust pan out of last week’s milk jug to use as a dust pan! This is an inexpensive way to clean up the crumbs you have laying around your kitchen without spending a lot of money. Now if only you could find that broom…




Bowl Covers:

  • Bowl coversAlthough plastic saran wrap is reusable, it can be expensive. Instead of spending excess amounts of money during the holiday season covering your food, use cloth covers. These covers will replace the expensive plastic wrap for little to no cost and does the job just as well.




Swiffer PadsSwiffer pads

  • Like most of the other items on this list Swiffer pads can be costly. However, replacing them with reusable cloth pads can save you money, and can pick up just as much as the store bought kind. When your done just wash them and put them back on your Swiffer for the next mess!



Tissue Boxes:

  • TissuesIf you still prefer plastic grocery bags over reusable ones that’s fine; as long as you plan to reuse them. Store them in your left-over tissue boxes laying around the living room. This will keep them neatly stored for when you find a project for them. However, don’t forget that reusable bags can save you more money in the end anyways!




For guidance on making an item listed above click on a picture. If you’re interested in going green or looking for simple ways to save money around the house try some of these ideas out! Going green is awesome and can be fun! Why not give it a try?

Grand Slam Volunteers!

Keep Akron Beautiful teamed up with volunteers coordinated by the BVU: Center for Non Profit Excellence to do a little renovating for the Akron Racers at Firestone Stadium on July 24th. With the help of the Community Pride Trailer and a few yards of mulch provided by the City of Akron, volunteers were able to get some serious work done!
11780049_930842356981100_65927247872237741_oVolunteers trimmed the bushes and trees in front of the stadium…
IMG_0774IMG_0773weed whacked some overgrown islands in the parking lots (with a smile, we might add!)…
IMG_0770and added some mulch to those freshly trimmed beds!
IMG_0771Inside the stadium, volunteers became regular Pablo Picassos, giving the railing some fresh paint! But first, the railing needed to be sanded down…
IMG_0780See the big contrast!?
IMG_0779It wasn’t just the railing that got painted. In the stands, volunteers teamed up to re-stencil all the lettering on the stairs.

These volunteers did an amazing job! You can see the results of their hard work the next time you stop out for a Racers home game!