Volunteers Help Central Park Bloom

Lisa Patrick

The Ashland Beacon


   As an employee of Kings Daughters Medical Center, Betty Mayo takes many of her breaks at the small garden area of Central Park located on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 22nd Street. She noticed that the area was starting to get a little overgrown and “needed some love.” Instead of just complaining about the “disrepair,” Betty decided to be proactive and do something about it.

   Betty, who works as a financial counselor, was inspired to help improve the area. She wanted to “help improve the area, make it a little prettier, and make it a nice place” for people, like herself, who want a retreat from the “windowless world” where they work.

   Betty spoke with some of the directors at KDMC first to see if they would be willing to make the repair of the garden a sponsored event and allow employees to gain volunteer hours by working on the project. She was given the green light by Community Relations Director, Elaine Corbitt. She then contacted the City Parks Directors Shawn Murray and Amber Berry. She said that they were “super excited to have some community members help with the project.” She attended a meeting of the Parks Board to submit her proposal. Mayo said that the board members were “completely supportive and thrilled that there was interest to help improve the park.”

   Once the day for the repair work was set for Saturday, July 13, Betty sent out emails and posted the event on her personal Facebook page as well as the City of Ashland Facebook page and the Build Ashland Facebook page to get volunteers to help complete the work. She said that she was lucky and got around 20 volunteers to show up. Some of the volunteers were KDMC employees but just as many showed up from the community.

   After cleaning out all of the debris, the volunteers spread black mulch all throughout the flower beds. The triangular boxes around the fountain area were filled with Hostas. The large trough-like beds under and around the pergola, were filled with Begonias and Coleus. Kim Jenkins, a landscape architect who sits on the Parks Board, drew up the master plan for the garden and also gave Betty what she referred to as a “punch list” of things that needed to be done to improve the area.

   Betty said that there will be more things that will happen with the little garden area in the future that the City Parks workers will be doing, but that there are a “limited number of parks workers and a multitude of parks for them to take care of.” She said that the parks workers will be trimming things up some more and removing some of the larger plants. There will then be a plan to come in and put in some other plants to replace those. She said that she really wants to “make the area pretty.” By the time the volunteers were done on Saturday, the garden was well on its way to its original glory.