The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and The ScottsMiracle-Gro Company have selected the City of Houston as a participant in the 2014GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant Awards Program. The grants, which focus on improving the nation’s cities through the development of community gardens and green spaces, were announced at The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 82nd Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The City of Houston’s grant will help build a Garden and Nature Playground, located at the Gabriela Mistral Center for Early Childhood in the Gulfton area of southwest Houston, which will feature raised beds and container gardens, fruit trees, compost bins, barrels for rain water harvesting, an outdoor classroom, fort, pond, embankment slide, music space, sand pit and playhouse. The City of Houston won the award in collaboration with Keep Houston Beautiful and Asakura Robinson.
“The Garden and Nature Playground at Gabriela Mistral meets many goals of my Go Healthy Houston Initiative,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “The project will teach children and families gardening practices and the importance of nutrition, while providing access to fresh and local produce, green space and play space in a beautiful natural setting. We are very thankful to the USCM and ScottsMiracle-Gro for this support.”
Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston join four other winning cities for this year’s grant program: Mesa, AZ – Mayor Scott Smith; Tallahassee, FL – Mayor John Marks; Minneapolis, MN – Mayor Betsy Hodges; and, Miramar, FL – Mayor Lori Moseley.
“We highly commend the mayors in all five of these winning cities for their actions to improve the quality of life for all their citizens,” said Tom Cochran CEO & Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Thanks to the outstanding work by these mayors, their citizens have access to healthy, natural food while uniting people of all ages and creating a sense of community.”
The partnership between The U.S. Conference of Mayors and ScottsMiracle-Gro, now in its third year, aims to improve U.S. cities through increased access to public gardens and green spaces. The winning cities were chosen from a competitive field to create new, innovative greenscapes and to recognize mayoral commitment to urban renewal and beautification.
“We are proud to be working with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to bring more green spaces to our nation’s cities,” said Jim Hagedorn, ScottsMiracle-Gro Chairman and CEO. “Through our commitment to garden and green space development, our hope is that residents and future generations will have a place to enjoy the outdoors.”
The winning cities were chosen by a panel of former mayors and national garden experts from a large pool of applicants. New in 2014, the GRO1000 grants have been expanded to award a total of $40,000 in monetary funds and product, payable over three years. In Year 1, each winning city will receive a grant in the amount of $25,000 ($15,000 cash; $10,000 in-kind product from ScottsMiracle-Gro). For Years 2 and 3, winning cities will receive a grant award of $7,500 ($5,000 cash; $2,500 in-kind product from ScottsMiracle-Gro).