Flowerscape program

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We appreciate the work Keep Akron Beautiful does in the City, but more importantly to the Soap Box Derby. The flowers that Keep Akron Beautiful provides improves the look for all of our visitors throughout the course of the year. Your team does and great job and we can’t thank you enough.
Mark Gerberich
President & CEO of International Soap Box Derby

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Sponsor a Flowerscape

  • W. Exchange St. and Dart (one corner south at Innerbelt)
  • Bartges and Dart median
  • Lower Lock 3
  • Church St near parking deck
  • Cotter Park
  • Gale and Exchange
  • Glendale Steps
  • Triplett at Rotary in front of Christopher Columbus Memorial
  • Main St. near Huntington Bank
  • Mull Ave

2019 Flowerscape Insights

In 2019, we continued our efforts to show the Akron community that our gardens are not only beautiful spaces for public observation but also serve multiple functions that benefit our natural environment and community members. 

For the first time, our beautification program incorporated edibles into our gardens. We planted over 100  Rainbow Swiss Chard, over 200 Nasturtiums and over 300 Sweet Potato Vines throughout our city gardens. Nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible. Ornamental Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas), is grown primarily for its purple, chartreuse, or variegated foliage, is a true sweet potato. As such, the tubers it forms are edible. In 2019, Keep Akron Beautiful was able to donate 13, ten gallon bags of Swiss Chard to the Haven of Rest and help feed Akron’s homeless population.  While many of  the flowers in our gardens have medicinal and wildlife benefits, incorporating food for people is something we would like to focus more on in the future. By adding edibles to our garden beds, we can provide our community with beautiful spaces that serve a greater purpose.

The first photo below displays our edible garden located on South High St. Here, you can see how the bright colored stems of the Rainbow Swiss Chard pair nicely with Nasturtium flowers and foliage. Black and Blue Salvia can bee seen in the background, even though Salvia is not an edible plant, it entices pollinators to the garden.

Three varieties of Sweet Potato Vine are found in the second image. Nasturtium fills in between the Sweet Potato Vine and white New Guinea Impatiens can be found in the background. This is of one of 52 hanging boxes on the Municipal Building found on High St. in Downtown Akron. The Flowerscape crew members harvested the Sweet Potato tubers at the end of the season to store and re-plant the following spring.

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

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

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

The Orr Family Foundation sponsors the  Glendale Cemetery site.

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

The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation sponsors the Lion Bed by Courthouse.

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.

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

Sponsors give $4,000 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. 

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