I see green!

april23Atlantic Street is a tough street to cruise down slowly just admiring the sights, but I had a chance yesterday, on a perfect, warm spring day to get out of the car and appreciate what is happening in the gardens. There is a lot of green coming up in nice neat rows (right) to reflect the care with which they were planted.

Come by and see for yourself but you have to get out on foot to really appreciate them.

We also have our first shipment of gregg’s gardens’ 2013 tee shirt (below), perfectly produced in awesome purple by our friends at Artistics on Market Street Courthouse Square. We will have them for sale on May 11th at the Dave Grolh Alley Rockin’ Artfest 2013 — and yes, we still need volunteers.

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Thank you

Thank you to the employees of Trumbull County who contributed nearly $500 to the effort as part of their “Dress-down” program. I’ll post a photo soon. And thanks also to the Kiwanis Club of Warren for allowing us to make our pitch at today’s meeting at the BV.

One. Hundred. Dollars.

dr-evilI thought for a moment this morning that Dr. Evil had edited the piece that ran in the Trib today about the recent gift we received from the Trumbull 100 of “$100.” Fortunately it must have been a simple typo, because even using the ever-economic blend of wildflowers and native grasses, a Benjamin just ain’t what it used to be.

For the record: the gift from Trumbull 100 was for $10,000!

We got a very nice and completely accurate write-up (including nice graphics) on rustwire.com, a pretty interesting web site about and for the cities of the Rustbelt. You can “friend” them on Facebook here.

We did a presentation for the Rotary Club of Warren at their weekly luncheon meeting at Enzo’s today. The great people of Rotary were one of our first supporters when gregg’s gardens was getting started last year and they were kind enough to invite us back. Unfortunately technical problems hampered the effort.

BIG NEWS!

t100_logoWe are thrilled to announce the largest gift ever to gregg’s gardens: The Trumbull 100 is donating $10,000 to the cause of creating a Garden District in the city center. The Trumbull 100 is one of the areas most active and progressive organizations. They supported gg last year with a smaller gift, and have followed our progress. T-100 President Diane Sauer, who was instrumental in helping us, had this to say:

Our goal is to facilitate opportunities and provide leadership for projects that enhance the quality of life in Trumbull County, and this project will certainly do that. It will turn a currently run-down neighborhood into a desirable place to live, and a strengthened center city will boost downtown Warren, as well.”

The Trumbull 100 gift bring us to just shy of $20,000 in total donations this year, or about 40% of our goal. We still have a long way to go, but we have lots of other irons in the fire. Stay tuned.

Funding update

At this stage of the game it is all about raising the money and our activity level is high. I don’t feel it is right to name individuals or private business we are pursuing, but I promise you there are a lot of them.

We are also very actively meeting with community organizations. We presented to the Trumbull 100 two weeks ago and we just booked a date to present to Rotary Club on March 20 and hope to have dates with the Kiwanis Club and the Warren Board of Realtors soon as well.

We are working on several grant opportunities, have a first meeting with one next week, and recently added a volunteer to research certain grant opportunities.

We are working on a very cool fund-raising event idea that is too soon to talk about, but if we can make it happen may be very profitable.

Finally, but certainly not least importantly, private individuals continue to be an important and generous source of gifts. We have had several in the $250-500 range the past couple of weeks. Smaller donations have been a little slower in coming but we haven’t really ramped up our effort there as yet.

If you don’t hear from me too often the next few weeks it’s because I’m out begging and twisting arms.

Have a nice weekend.

A word about comments

Several people have emailed me recently regarding their inability to leave a comment on this site. Unfortunately we had to turn off the comment feature because of a sustained and overwhelming attack of spam comments from people selling electronic cigarettes, reverse look-up services, counterfeit Victoria’s Secret clothing and many, many things I could not tell you about because not only were they not in English, they were not written using the Roman alphabet either.

There were more than 20,000 of these bogus comments in the past few months. I won’t bore you with why this is bad, but I also know a blog where you can’t comment is pretty lame. The plan is to wait another week or so and then turn comments back on and hope that by then the spam bots will have moved on.

We posted a gregg’s garden story today on Warren Expressed which you can reach using this link.

How the Trib got it wrong

The Tribune has been a big supporter of gregg’s gardens from the beginning, and continued that support with a very nice editorial last week. That said, we think they missed the point slightly.

This may have been our fault since they recently gave us a generous amount of their time to explain our plans. But we want to be sure that we clarify our point-of-view here.

The Trib expressed doubt that a large concentration of gregg’s gardens would become a tourist attraction and they probably should be skeptical of that concept, which may be a bit far-fetched. But that is not the primary goal of creating a Garden District in Warren.

We believe that by demolishing 50+ of the worst houses in the area, which the city will do this year, and replacing them with wildflower and native plant gardens, combined with converting 50+ existing vacant lots to gardens as well, that we will:

  1. Stabilize the neighborhood and make it more attractive for potential investors, especially anyone interested in purchasing an inexpensive home that needs a little work
  2. Give Warren something new and positive that residents can be proud of by branding this new neighborhood the Garden District, which will further encourage investment in that neighborhood
  3. Cast a positive glow on downtown, the Historic Perkins Neighborhood, the industrial zone just to the north and the Warren G. Harding area to the northeast — all neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the proposed Garden District.

Now, we still believe that 100-150 wildflower gardens concentrated in a 25 square block area will attract visitors, but if nary a single person ever comes from out-of-town to visit the Garden District, but it achieves the goals above, it will have paid for itself many times over. Remember, the budget for this entire project is only $50,000 — less than the cost of most single family homes in Warren.

To view a YouTube video on the Garden District idea click here.

The case for creating a Garden District

gg_1As you may know, Phase II for gregg’s gardens is a plan to create a Garden District just northeast of downtown Warren. We laid out this plan at a recent public meeting at the Wean Foundation building and since then have been showing it to selected small groups. Well, now the whole world can see the pitch thanks to our friend Jim Fogarty, a member of the Wild Bunch and owner of the “2TicksAndtheDog” marketing agency. Jim had me come in and record the voice-over and then married the track with some music and our slides.

You can see the results at this link to YouTube. This 16 minute presentation lays out the argument for using a concentration of wildflower and native plant gardens as a means of transforming one neighborhood, which because of its strategic location, will have a strong positive impact on three or four other neighborhoods.

The Garden District will only become a reality if we are able to raise the funding for it, so I urge you to contribute and to send a link to the video to as many friends, family, colleagues and assorted people you know. The details are on the closing slide.

If 1000 people each contribute $50 the Garden District will become a reality.