South Euclid Garden Walk
In 2016, Donna M. Zachary and Sue Gold after years of going on garden tours and gardenwalks, wanted to implement an annual program that would complement the on-going community development in South Euclid. After much thought and research, they decided the gardenwalk concept could prove to be a valuable asset to the South Euclid community. Since 2015, the city had been thriving with community development, whose main focus had been the establishment of community gardens, neighborhood parks, and a green Mayfield Road corridor to name a few of the many projects that have punctuated the city’s landscape. The gardenwalk, on the other hand, would focus on the individual streets and neighborhoods and would be a perfect adjunct to the recent rejuvenation projects.
The main goal of the gardenwalk would be to encourage neighborhood beautification by rejuvenating streets and re-energizing neighborhoods. Nurturing community spirit, and encouraging civic pride throughout the city of South Euclid can also result in increased property values. The event would be open to anyone in South Euclid who wants to participate, with no prior judging!
Nationally, gardenwalks have a track record of doing exactly that!
One of the oldest models is the Urban Gardenwalk in Chicago, third largest city in the country and takes place in July. Throughout the years, it has become a week-long extravaganza featuring gardens, art, concerts and lots of “good food”. The festivities begin with the Bucktown gardenwalk which takes place the 2nd weekend in July on Friday & Saturday from 11am – 5pm. It features private gardens, a beer & rose garden, family activities, a petting zoo, food trucks and live music. That same weekend the Dearbon Gardenwalk takes place, a “Saturday only” event from 12 noon – 5pm and will celebrate its 60th year in 2018. This nationally recognized event in Chicago’s historic district draws crowds from all over the world. The week long festivities culminate with the Sheffield Music & Gardenwalk in Chicago’s Gold Coast. It will also be celebrating a landmark this year with its’ 50th gardenwalk. Visitors can see more than 100 beautiful neighborhood gardens: 20 distinctive rear gardens, live jazz & classically performances in select gardens, garden seminars and more.
No wonder in 1993, Marvin Lunenfeld and Gail McCathy attended the Chicago Gardenwalk and decided it was a concept that could work equally well in Buffalo and help take the chill out of its’ rustbelt/snowbelt image. After years of planning, the first Garden walk Buffalo took place in 1995. Since then, it has won both regional and international garden tourism awards, increased home values, rejuvenated neighborhoods and hosted tens of thousands visitors from around the U.S. and abroad for an estimated annual $45 million economic impact. Garden Walk Buffalo features over 416 gardens and takes place the last weekend in July.
Another example closer to home is the GardenWalk Cleveland. In 2010 after seeing an article in the Plain Dealer, Jan Kious and Bobbi Reichtell, founders of GardenWalk Cleveland, independently went to Buffalo that June to see the miracle of so many gardens in bloom in a city with a reputation for being cold and drab. GardenWalk Buffalo completely changed their impressions of that city.
Jan realized that a GardenWalk in Cleveland could change perceptions of Cleveland too. So, Cleveland’s first GardenWalk took place in 2011. GardenWalk Cleveland strives to be known as an enjoyable and welcoming garden experience. Last year’s, GardenWalk had over 1,500 visitors during the 2 day event.