Greening of Arkansas committee names 2016 grant recipients
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Dec. 16, 2016
- About $17,500 in grant money awarded to nine communities
- 23 Communities applied for the grant funding
- Grant funding, along with horticulture scholarships, are primary beneficiaries of Arkansas Flower and Garden Show proceeds
LITTLE ROCK — Nine communities across Arkansas learned this week that they will receive a combined total of about $17,500 in grant funding through the Greening of Arkansas Grant Program.
2016 marks the tenth year the Greening of Arkansas program will award 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 committee, which consists of Carol Mendel, Merilyn Tilley and Karin Briscoe, announced grants in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 would be awarded to nine applicants, out of a total of 23 applications the committee received.
This year’s recipients include:
- The Boys and Girls Club of Ouachita County, construct an Arts Garden at the new Events Center at Fairview Park in Camden, $2,500
- Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, add native plant gardens to the Razorback Regional Greenway in Fayetteville, $1,088
- The Hoxie Dickens Celebration Committee, renovate landscaping at the Hoxie Community Center and the city park, $1,125
- The City of Lockesburg, landscape several public locations throughout Lockesburg, $2,300
- Ozark Interpretive Association of Mountain View, add native plantings at theAmphitheater City Park in Mountain View, $1,000
- Pine Bluff Downtown Development, landscape the Barraque Plaza in downtown Pine Bluff, $2,400
- Quitman Community Connection, landscape the Quitman Public Library, $1,928
- The City of Star City, landscape the Joslyn-Carter Historic Town Square, $2,500
- Yellville-Summit Schools, the High School Nursery/Landscape class will construct and plant planter boxes at the Elementary School, $2,500
Committee member Carol Mendel said grant applications are judged according to criteria designed to support the committee’s vision. She said that while each of the three members assesses the applications independently of each other, the three women have typically found that they each arrived at the same conclusions as to which applicants should receive awards.
“The decision has to be unanimous,” Mendel said. “Our criteria are pretty clear and objective. It helps when applicants can articulate a clear idea of what they want to do, what materials they need to do it, and how they’ll maintain it.”
Mendel said that in the event of a “tie” amongst multiple applicants, the committee will consider the geographical location of the competing applicants in an effort to avoid concentrating grant funds in any single area of the state.
“We’d like to spread the money we have around as best we can,” she said.
The dollar amount of the Greening of Arkansas grants has increased significantly since the program’s inception. Originally, grant awards were in the amounts of $400-$500.
“But we realized, you can’t really do anything with that,” Mendel said. “We decided we’d rather give folks enough money to do something really good, even if it meant award fewer grants.”
Over the past decade, the maximum grant award has gradually increased to $2,500.
In addition to the grant funding, thousands of dollars in proceeds from the AFGS go to funding students studying horticulture in Arkansas.
The recipients were announced to members of the AFGS board during a special meeting in late November, held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. After several months of contract negotiations, the fairgrounds will be the site of the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show. The 2017 show will be held in February at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock, as it has been for the past several years.
Mendel said the grants are often awarded to recipients who demonstrate a clear intent to bring a community together for the purpose of beautifying a public space.
“That’s what we like,” Mendel said. “A small community coming together, trying to make a difference.
To learn more about the Greening of Arkansas grant program or the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, visit https://argardenshow.org/.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service