Beer grows on Porter

2015-06-22 00.02.44Just two months ago, the corner of Porter and Vine was a bleak, featureless, weedy, littered lot. Read today’s Tribune and then take a drive by and see how it looks now. Drive by a few days from now and it will look even more interesting and alive.

One step at a time. That is how progress is made.

Fund raising update

money.flowerFunds raised in 2013 are just a few dollars shy of $30,000. Our goal for the year is $50,000. I can’t honestly tell you I know where the next $20,000 will come from but we have a third of the year left and we are optimistic.

The original plan was to raise most of the money from private individuals but this proved to be a flawed strategy pretty quickly; fortunately we figured it out in time to change to a strategy of approaching foundations for grants. This yielded large gifts from Trumbull 100, The Raymond John Wean Foundation, PNC Bank Foundation and the Dominion Foundation.

We struck out with the Youngstown/Warren Chamber of Commerce, the Trumbull County Community Foundation and the General Motors Foundation. We are waiting to hear back on several others and are working on several new applications.

Writing grant applications is not particularly difficult but it is time-consuming. If there is anyone reading this who would like to join the gregg’s gardens/Garden District cause this is an area where we could use some help. You can do it from home on your own time. Write to if your want to know more.

Everything starts with a plan. Come see our plan for creating the 22-square block Warren Garden District next Tuesday August 20th at 5:30 p.m. at the Raymond John Wean Building on Courthouse Square.

A lot going on

pWow, it’s been several weeks since I posted, which is too long a gap. First I was on vacation, then I got sick, then the dog ate my homework, then….well, anyway, I’m back and there is a lot to tell. I’m going to break it up over a couple of days so check back later this week.

First, we have a great new package of photos with the best representation to date of what we are planting in gregg’s gardens (that is Rough Blazingstar above). They were supplied to us by Ohio Prairie Nursery which supplies us with seeds. I’m especially fond of the native grasses — Little Bluestem (below) and Nodding Wild Rye.









Part of the reason we haven’t written much is that we have been very busy selecting and prepping the next group of garden lots in the Garden District. We are working on killing weeds in about 30 lots now, including the walking path on the old railroad right-of-way that runs between Belmont and Elm Road; this is going to be a very charming addition to the neighborhood once the flowers and grasses mature.

If you haven’t yet, take a drive by the Elm and Atlantic lot; park and walk around it if you can in order to really appreciate how beautiful these flowers and grasses are. This lot was planted with plugs so it has a one-year head start on the other gardens which we seeded. The seeded lots should look like this by this time next year. You may have noticed also that the rye grass in the seeded lots has been cut down and removed per the plan.

Check back later this week for an funding update and news about other gg projects underway.

Wildflowers or weeds?

To some people a garden can only be something with regimented rows of specific flowers or vegetables organized by type or color that is lovingly weeded and watered every day. That’s not what gregg’s gardens are all about so for the people mentioned above ours will probably never be their idea of gardens.

This is addressed in a recent piece from legendary Columbus Dispatch columnist John Switzer, “Weeds to some, wildflowers to others.” It is well worth a read. Thanks to Wild Bunch member and former Warrenite Janet Stroup Kasler for sending it our way.

Vindy article

We got a very nice write up in this morning’s Vindicator. It was especially nice since I’d just gotten off the phone with some lunatic woman who threatened to “sue me into the next life” if we planted on her property — which we were not planning to do anyway.

We need a couple volunteers

We’re getting a lot of social media play on the July 6th benefit (see June 24th post for details) at Christ Episcopal. We could have 300+ people there, which would be an outstanding fund-raising opportunity. We have our tee shirts sellers but we have another opportunity to make a few bucks if we can get a couple of volunteers to help.
The church will let us sell refreshments at the event. We need someone — probably two people — to purchase some snacks, bring them to the church and sell them. Soda, popcorn, candy — stuff like that. You get to decide. There will be no financial risk; the band will guarantee the purchase price and gregg’s gardens will keep any profit.
Email me at if you can take charge of this.

PNC grants us $5000!

Warren, Ohio, Wednesday, June 27, 2013: For Immediate Release

gregg’s gardens announced today that it has received a $5000 grant from the PNC Foundation in support of the Warren volunteer group’s effort to create a Garden District near downtown Warren. The creation of a Garden District is an economic development program designed to make the 22 square block area just north of downtown Warren a more desirable place to visit and live.

The initiative will plant gardens in 58 vacant lots and up to 50 lots that are now occupied by condemned houses. Most of the gardens will feature wildflowers and native plants but several plots will consist of community vegetable gardens, plus one quarter-acre field of barley.

“Communities thrive when residents are engaged in efforts to revitalize their neighborhoods,” said Ted Schmidt, regional president for PNC Bank, speaking on behalf of the PNC Foundation. “By involving those most invested in reclaiming the city’s blighted areas, gregg’s gardens and TNP are planting the seeds of positive change in our community.”

“We believe that leveraging the city’s demolition of vacant houses to create gardens allows us to reclaim this neighborhood and better position it as an attractive place for economic development,” said gregg’s gardens volunteer Dennis Blank.

“Walkability is a huge factor in revitalizing neighborhoods and residents in the proposed Garden District will be able to easily walk to downtown, Harding High School and nearby parks,” said Matt Martin, Program Director for Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP), the fiscal agent and operational engine for the project.

Other major funders of this project include The Trumbull 100, The Raymond John Wean Foundation, the Warren G. Harding classes of 1967, ‘68 and ’69, Friends and Family of Gregg Snyder, The Dominion Foundation, AVI Foodsystems, Diane Sauer Chevrolet, All American Cards and Comics, Vlad Pediatrics, Carl W. Hall Funeral Services, The Horse Shoe Bar, Rotary Club and more than 250 other local businesses and individuals.

Benefit for gregg’s gardens

During the height of Beatlemania in the mid to late 1960’s and 1970’s, hardly a neighborhood existed where you wouldn’t find a garage or basement rec room filled with earnest young people enthusiastically strumming and drumming  their versions of the hit music of the day. 

This was the beginning of The Golden Age of Rock, and if you grew up in Warren among the best of these bands were The Holes in the Road, The Shaddows, and MF Rattlesnake.  These bands dominated the local music scene; headlining shows at venues like The Gold Record, Champion Rollerarena, The Bobcat Club, Packard Music Hall, Lefty and Jim’s, The Patio and the legendary dances at Christ Episcopal Church. 

Now nearly forty years later, members of these bands Gary McCoy, Doug Thomas, Dennis Csiszer and Gary Sloas are returning to the Christ Episcopal Church stage to present an evening of the greatest rock music duets of all-time in a fun-filled show called “The Power of Two”.  

The show will include performances of great duets from The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, Sonny & Cher, Peter & Gordon, The Bee Gees and many more.  Many talented area musicians will also be featured including Liz Lewis (The Mainstreet Lions), Tom and Cara Smeltzer (Full House), Rick Hartley (Sideshow), Jay Wonders, and Rosalie Opalka.  Lighting and sound engineering will be provided by Dante Divincenzo.

“We are very happy to be able get the band together one more time to benefit this community which has meant so much to all of us for so many years” said Thomas who recently returned to the area after living in Georgia and Tennessee for a number of years.  “There’s nothing I enjoy more than playing music with these folks right here in Warren and how appropriate to be able to do it at Christ Episcopal Church, the scene of so many fantastic musical events past and present.”    

Proceeds from the event will benefit gregg’s gardens and the effort to create a Garden District in Warren’s oldest neighborhood. For more information please visit

The show will be held in the parish hall at Christ Episcopal Church on Saturday July, 6th beginning at 7:30 p.m.  The church is located at 2627 Atlantic St. NE in Warren. 

Admission is free; however, a donation to Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership in support of gregg’s gardens is requested.