- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

October 10, 2012

Beautifying the borough

Back from Ark., locals plan to work harder




Judges critque Rock in Bloom's efforts

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer

The America in Bloom judges who visited the Slippery Rock area this June to assess the work Slippery Rock in Bloom completed released their evaluation on Monday.

The judges, Diane Clasen and Bill Hahn, offered advice and praise based on the area's climate and environmental conditions and the management, planning, maintenance, improvement and innovation on six categories: floral displays, landscapes, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression.

Out of 1,000 possible points, Slippery Rock received 484 total. The judges congratulated the group and the Slippery Rock Rotary Club for their first year in the program.

The kickoff project of planting 5,000 red tulips was especially notable and the group's leaders are passionate and serious about promoting their community.

The judges' tour of the area revealed "treasures" including preserved buildings, YMCA/ARMCO Park, Slippery Rock Community Park, Slippery Rock University, the business district, Poplar Forest subdivision and a certified Audubon site.

They noted Slippery Rock Creek and the surrounding park that hosts the farmers market and the North Country Trail.

The judges suggest the 2013 North Country Trail celebration at SRU include an annual festival that "extols pioneer life west of the Alleghenies."

The group might also consider adding more flowers to certain areas and incorporate a plant exchange to generate community involvement and keep costs down.

"Additional color and variety is always positive," the judges said, adding the new urns were well-designed by co-chair Jeff Berta.

Businesses had "splendid floral displays" and the judges were "delighted" by the Slippery Rock Community Library's new herb garden, a great way to get kids involved.

Gateway Park greets visitors entering town on Route 108 and well-maintained waterfall and brick wall is a "Wow!" installation, the judges said.

Moss-covered planters in the alleys and around the murals downtown and the low-budget dog waste stations, kept up by business owner and Bloom member Sonya Lenz and others, are creative touches.

These amenities could be enhanced with shrubs, trees, perennials and ornamental grass. Certain plants can be used elsewhere to prevent erosion and weeds, direct foot traffic, reduce mowing and decrease noise pollution.

Expand the community garden as a teaching tool for residents to grow their own food, the excess going to the food bank, the judges said.

Play up YMCA/ARMCO Park because residents wrongly assume it's for YMCA members only. It's likely underutilized and could use some improvements to attract more visitors.

Further SRU's GPS campus tree survey to include programs that will produce work orders and histories and provide more information on green initiatives. A similar program could be done throughout the community.

Also, the borough, businesses and SRU should partner to educate residents about reducing, reusing and recycling; the use of rain barrels downtown was noted.

Retired SRU professor Gene Wilhelm is recording data of breeding birds in his Poplar Forest neighborhood as part of the second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas, one example of how the school is an environmental leader.

SRU and high school students could help the Slippery Rock Heritage Association, which has no headquarters; the group needs to brainstorm and fundraise to obtain a permanent home.

"Preserving your heritage should become part of the mindset of the community, beginning with the children and with the school system. Your heritage is more valuable than someone's profit," the judges said.

Keeping a tally of volunteer hours is useful when applying for grants and think of new ways to get residents involved, like pairing students with senior citizens who need help with yard work, holding contests, offering prizes or awards and approaching existing organizations to lend a hand.

Published Oct. 3, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.


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