LITTLE ROCK — If you’ve ever wanted a community garden or neighborhood park, you and your neighbors can apply for a grant to fund projects to beautify public spaces throughout the state.
The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is currently accepting applications for the “Greening of Arkansas” Grant Program in which organizations and civic groups can apply for funds to beautify their communities and enhance their quality of life through horticulture. Since 2006 the Greening of Arkansas Grant Program has been funded from proceeds from the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show Inc. along with financial support from other entities.
“Many times, citizens see opportunities to turn abandoned lots or areas around public properties into more beautiful places for their community,” said Merilyn Tilley, chairman of the Greening of Arkansas Committee. “The grants allow communities to create vegetable or ornamental gardens, neighborhood parks and other public spaces.”
Awards are available up to $1,500, and smaller grants are awarded based on a project’s merits and overall benefits to the community.
The Greening of Arkansas program supports the development and ongoing care of community gardens, neighborhood parks and high-profile public green spaces in towns across Arkansas.
Working in partnership with neighborhood residents, community organizations and city agencies, the Greening of Arkansas Grant program was developed to promote the idea of a greener and cleaner environment by encouraging civic plantings in the community. This program can promote community pride, rejuvenate streets, re-energize neighbors and improve Arkansas’ image.
General requirements for applying for a grant are:
• Applicant must be a nonprofit, community-based or civic organization located in the State of Arkansas;
• Grant award funds may only be used for the project in the area defined in the plan and project description;
• Project must contain at least 50 percent horticulture (trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.);
• Grant funds will not provide awards for projects on private property;
• Organizations who receive a Greening Grant must wait two years before they can apply for another Greening Grant; and
• The application must include the application form; a project summary form; maintenance plan; and photograph of intended site. Incomplete applications will be eliminated in an initial screening of applications.
To apply, mail an original and three copies of the application as well as all related material to Krista Quinn, Executive Director, Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, P. O. Box 638, Conway, AR, 72033.
Last year’s grants were awarded to:
• Batesville, Old Independence Regional Museum, to plant educational gardens;
• Corning, United Way of Northeast Arkansas, to plant and revitalize area damaged by Ice storm of 2009;
• Cotter, City of Cotter, to plant and clean up areas around Cotter City Municipal Building at Old School Park and Big Spring Park;
• De Queen, City of De Queen Parks Department, to plant trees around artesian well area;
• Emerson, Purplehull Pea Festival, for improvement and beautification of park;
• Garfield, City of Garfield, flower bed for City Park;
• Marvell, Marvell Garden Club, to landscape welcome sign;
• Osceola Kiwanis, to pant trees and shrubs to cool down Rodney Anders Memorial Park in Osceola.
The 2014 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is set for Feb. 21-23 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
For more information about Greening of Arkansas grants, visit extension’s Web site, www.uaex.edu, or contact your county extension agent.