Keeping Owensboro Beautiful: City Grounds Department
Every time I drive through downtown Owensboro, I oooh and aaaah over the planters on either side of Second St. The vibrant colors and lush lime greenery is absolutely gorgeous! Honestly, all over town in the various parks and around city buildings, are beautiful flowers and meticulously trimmed shrubs.
As someone who wishes she had more of a green thumb, I know it is not easy to keep everything in tip-top shape. I can't even keep up with the flower beds in front of my house, so the thought of making sure a whole city looks sharp takes a lot of hard work.
Seeing Owensboro look so amazing makes me really happy. I love this city, and I am proud that when people visit our public spaces it is not only clean but impressive. So, I want to personally thank those whose job it is to keep Owensboro beautiful, the city grounds department.
I spoke with Grounds Manager, Adam Wright about how he and his crew of 16 (plus 9 seasonal temps) work their magic. "We are Jacks of all trades really, setting up for special events like BBQ Fest and the air show, horticulturalists, and groundskeepers." They also keep all of the plants and flowers in the parks healthy and happy as well as routine maintenance.
Adam said, "All my crews take so much pride in everything they do. They give 110% every time they go out no matter the temperature. It could be -20 degrees outside and we're out moving snow and clearing parking lots. Detail work is everything and they have that down pat." They are sticklers for shrubs trimmed up sharp and making sure community spaces are clean and litter-free.
Even in the extreme heat like we've seen this week, they're out doing their thing. In fact, they have a full-time water truck driver dedicated to keeping everything green and properly hydrated. He waters the plants and flowers every day unless it rains. "Mother Nature's water is a whole lot better," Adam explained.
And he would know! Adam has been working in the field of horticulture, landscaping, and irrigation for 20-plus years. Six of those are now with the City of Owensboro. He also farms corn, wheat, and soybeans in the Masonville/Habit area. Adam told me, "I was born and bred in Owensboro. I love this town. The only thing that would take me away other than a vacation is the good Lord himself."
I asked him where his favorite place in the city is, and he told me he couldn't pick a favorite. He does love when they plant for Fall. Being a farmer, harvest time is special and the colors of the mums and pansies look so nice.
I know what my favorite is! Without a doubt, the planters along 2nd and Veterans Blvd. overflowing with Sweet Potato Vines. Did you know there are 85 planters in the downtown area? Adam taught me some interesting history behind this weed-turned-ornamental plant. It was grown in Central and South America for ages, but an Arboretum in North Carolina made it popular in the U.S. It loves the mid-south because of the humidity here. You can see how happy it is! If grown long enough, it will produce small sweet potatoes, although he doesn't recommend eating them. "They aren't like what you get at the grocery!"
Adam said, "I don't like to brag or boast, but I have the best crew in the business. The city of Owensboro is an absolutely wonderful place to work."
Their love for what they do is evident everywhere you look. This Owensboroan is very thankful.