9 communities to receive Greening of Arkansas grants

Nine communities across Arkansas will receive a combined total of $15,000 in grant funding through the Greening of Arkansas Grant Program.

From a larger pool of applicants, the nine communities were contacted in late December that their respective grant applications had been approved. 2017 marked the eleventh year the Greening of Arkansas program awarded grants. Developed and managed by the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show board in 2006, the program is intended to support the development and care of community gardens, parks and other public green spaces throughout Arkansas.

The recipients of the grant funding, which range from $700 to $2,500, were selected by a three-person committee and are as follows:

Southern Arkansas University Tech in East Camden will receive $2,500 to landscape an area SAUT’s campus to display a Rocket Monument.

The Seven Hills Homeless Shelter will receive $700 to create a small garden at the shelter.

The Boone County Master Gardeners in Harrison will receive $1,200 to establish a pollinator garden for use in education and demonstrations.

The Pulaski County Master Gardeners in Little Rock will receive $2,500 to plant a demonstration garden for horticultural education.

The Pulaski Heights Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association in Little Rock will receive $1,500 to establish a small green space for students and public use.

Audubon Arkansas in Little Rock will receive $1,100 to improve native plant demonstration gardens.

The Paron Community Center in Paron will receive $1,000 to improve the landscaping around the center.

The Jefferson County Clean and Beautiful Commission in Pine Bluff will receive $2,500 to enhance a community garden with fruit trees and rose bushes.

Five Rivers Historic Preservation, Inc. in Pocahontas will receive $2,000 to create a green space near the Arts District in downtown Pocahontas.

The committee judges grant applications according to criteria designed to support the committee’s vision, while keeping the goal of geographic dispersion in mind when possible.

In addition to the grant funding, thousands of dollars in proceeds from the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show also go toward funding students studying horticulture in Arkansas.

Krista Quinn, executive director of the show since 2008, said the beautification grants help fulfil a key component of the show’s foundational purpose.

“The Greening of Arkansas grant program is an important part of the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show’s mission,” Quinn said. “Many studies have shown that there are huge economic and social benefits when communities have attractive public areas and green spaces.

“Our grant program often gives communities the start-up funding they need to create civic plantings to beautify spaces their residents use on a daily basis,” she said. “This can promote community pride, increase the enjoyment of these spaces, and even attract new business and tourism in some areas.”

Quinn recently stepped down from her position with the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, after accepting a position with the Arkansas Forestry Commission. In December, members of the show’s Board of Directors voted to hire Mary Beth Rogers as the new executive director. Rogers has served as the executive secretary of the Arkansas Turfgrass Association since 2009.

Sign up for HPJ Insights

Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

The 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show will take place March 2 to 4 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. This year’s theme is “Imagine the Possibilities.” Tickets can be purchased online or at the fairgrounds during the show. The price of admission includes free parking.

To learn more about the Greening of Arkansas grant program or the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, visit https://argardenshow.org/.