FULTON, Ill. — It may still be winter in Fulton, yet it’s time to think spring.

Any group or governmental agency that helps maintain or enhance any of Fulton’s public garden areas should consider applying now for grant money available from the Fulton Gardens Fund. This includes all public gardens and landscaping areas such as those at public schools, governmental offices, and public parks.

All applications need to be submitted to FACE (Fulton’s community foundation) on or before March 5. Requests can be made for grants to cover most aspects of maintaining or creating a public garden spot, including plantings, landscape elements, equipment and labor.

FACE is a component fund of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and all applications must be submitted using its online grant application system. To access the grant application system, go to www.fultonFACE.org and click on “Get a Grant,” then choose “FACE: Fulton Gardens Fund” to get started. If you have questions or want additional information, contact Connie Koehn at (815) 589-2646. Applications must be completed and submitted online by no later than Monday, March 5.

The Fulton Gardens Fund is an endowment established by the Kopf family, through FACE, in 2013 in memory of Gerhart A. Kopf. He spent much of his professional career in the agricultural/nursery fields. Through his Bald Eagle Nursery, he became known for his expertise in ornamental grasses and hostas. Over several decades, he established and helped maintain many beautiful gardens in Fulton that included grasses as well as tulip and daffodil beds. This fund is intended to maintain and build on his legacy to the community and to honor his efforts and passion to beautify Fulton. It is hoped that this fund will both inspire and assist those who share his passion for beautification.

The fund’s purpose is to permanently support public garden areas in Fulton by providing grants to help maintain or enhance these gardens. Priority will be given to maintaining garden areas that already exist. Additionally, priority will be given to applications received for those garden areas in which Kopf played a role.

These include the windmill area/Den Besten Park, the bike trail flowerbeds on south Fourth Street, and 14th Avenue beautification that features tulips at the corners and flowering trees.

About $700 is expected to be available in 2018. It will be distributed as one or two grants, with no grant for less than $250. Examples of previous grant recipients: the Girl Scouts received a grant that helped them enhance the Lincoln Highway gazebo area on 10th Avenue and Master Gardener Judy Holesinger received a grant allowing her to refurbish the south Fourth Street daffodil flowerbeds that were established by Kopf.

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