All 68 planters along 24th Street between L and Q Streets will soon be blooming with colorful flowering plants that should enhance the area for years to come.
“Perennials may look small the first year, but they are permanent and should come back fuller and more beautiful every year,” said South Omaha Business Association board member Ross Pesek, a gardening enthusiast who coordinated the project. “Hopefully in three years or more, 24th Street will be really shining with plants in all 68 planters. This project will be a long-term contribution to South Omaha.”
In recent years, only about 20 percent of the planters have contained greenery and florals, all annuals, Pesek said.
“Annuals cost less up front but must be replanted every year,” he said, adding that the watering system was also problematic, with exposed sprinkler heads prone to vandalism and costly leaks.
SOBA is responsible for the maintenance of the planters, so last year members began looking for ways to reduce materials and maintenance costs while introducing greenery to more of the planters.
“We found some opportunities to make it a little more affordable for SOBA and permanently better for South Omaha,” Pesek said.
The group was awarded a grant from the City of Omaha for a more secure drip irrigation system, which was installed by student volunteers from the horticulture program at Metropolitan Community College. A local Lowe’s Home Improvement Store manager, Waco Walker, coordinated the donation of bedding plants and volunteer labor from Lowe’s store employees to place them in all 68 planters on Tuesday.
“Metropolitan Community College and Lowe’s are amazing partners,” Pesek said. “This is a significant contribution to the city.”