Integrating Art with Horticulture to Beautify McMicken Play Area

CINCINNATI, OH (September 9, 2015) – Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB), and The Davey Tree Expert Co. will rehabilitate the McMicken Play Area located at 510 W. McMicken Street in Over-the-Rhine into a vibrant public space integrating art and nature on Thursday, September 10, 2015 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Funding and in-kind support for the project was awarded to KCB through Keep America Beautiful (KAB)/Lowes Community Im-provement Grant, Keep Ohio Beautiful (KOB), and The Davey Tree Expert Co in conjunction with the 2015 Great Ohio Planting Day project and KAB’s fourth annual National Planting Day. National Planting Day, which is observed on and surrounding Saturday, Sept. 12, is a fall initiative of KAB’s Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program.

Each year, KOB celebrates Great Ohio Planting Day, a hands-on educational program that demonstrates how to properly prepare a planting site, plant and care for a tree. "KOB is pleased to be working once again with The Davey Tree Expert Co. on the 2015 Great Ohio Planting Day project,” said Mike Mennett, executive director for Keep Ohio Beautiful. “This year we are working with our local affiliate KCB to beautify and green the McMicken Play Area located just north of downtown Cincinnati in Over the Rhine,” said Mennett.

The project team and partners, including the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC), have been making structural & façade re-pairs to the entry way wall in preparation of painting a creative mural designed by KCB artists and program managers, Katie Davis and Claire Bryson. Davey Tree Expert Co. is also installing 5 new landscape trees to provide shade, reduce storm water run-off and help clean the air.

“The wall was built in the 1800's and never had proper drainage. It made the space around it unusable. Now the wall has been fixed and drainage is no longer a problem. This project will brighten up the whole area and allow the neighborhood to now have a beautiful useable space, “ said Stephen J. Pacella, superintendent for the CRC.

The McMicken Play Area (controlled and operated by the CRC) in recent years was a haven for crime, including human trafficking and prostitution, until Cincinnati councilwoman Yvette Simpson implemented initiatives in 2014 designed to improve the quality of life for residents who live along West McMicken and surrounding neighborhoods.

“These aesthetic improvements by our partners will help improve the overall function of the park and provide a healthier and safer resource for the community,” said Karen Wise, KOB board member and Natural Resource Consulting Manager for The Davey Tree Expert Co.

“We take great pride in improving our community and appreciate the opportunity to work with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Davey Tree, and KOB on this project, which will have a lasting impact on our neighbors and customers,” said Troy Houk, store manager at Lowe’s of Western Hills. “As a business member of the community we have an obligation to support the community anyway we can big or small. Through our Lowe's Heroes Program our associates volunteer their time as a way to pay if forward. Over the last few years we have developed a great relationship with KCB and projects like this keep us coming back to them,” said Houk.

Michael Davis, Frazier Kidd, and Carole Seale, long-time residents of the neighborhood, are happy to see someone cares about their neighborhood and is working to make it look better. “This neighborhood has seen a lot of bad things happen,” said Davis. It will be nice to have something pretty to look at.”

About Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 and is affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. KCB’s mission is to educate and encourage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. To learn more, visit www.KeepCincinnatiBeautiful.org

About Keep Ohio Beautiful

Empowering Ohio communities to take greater responsibility for improving our local environment through litter prevention, beau-tification, community greening, waste reduction and recycling.

About Keep America Beautiful

A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live.

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