Posted Online: Dec. 04, 2012, 9:00 pm

Silvis City Council celebrates earning Governor's Hometown Award

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

SILVIS -- City council members Tuesday celebrated receiving a Governor's Hometown Award for a community greenhouse being developed by the city and the Silvis Garden Club.

A 3-by-4-foot road sign and small plaque from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were displayed at a gathering before the council meeting attended by about 20 garden club and city volunteers.

One of 380 applicants for the award, Silvis was among 30 selected in the 30th annual competition, according to Ald. Kathy Hall, 2nd Ward, who submitted the application with city clerk Jim Nelson's help.It was the first time Silvis applied for the award, Ald. Hall said.

Volunteer judges review and rank Governor Home Town award applicants on factors such as local need, volunteer participation, use of resources and results, according to information from city administrator Jim Grafton.Projects are judged within population categories and project categories.

Silvis was honored as a Division lll Beautification and Sustainability recipient. Division III populations are between 5,001 and 10,000.

Silvis was the only local community among winners honoredNov. 29 at a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

The Silvis Garden Club came up with the community greenhouse idea in 2006 to develop a park and education facility offeringhands-on conservation and horticulture classes for area schools, youth groups, seniors and others.

The greenhouse, built in 2009, is in the 600 block of 1st Avenue North.The projectwas funded with years of Garden Club plant sales, bake sales, raffles and taco dinners, as well as privatedonations and labor from Iron Workers Union No. 111.

Forty volunteers spent 2,057 hours to develop the greenhouse at a cost of $88,152. Of that amount, $59,161 came from private funds, according to materials. The club, which has grown from 12 to 70 members, offers free classes on composting, container and lasagna gardening.

Ald. Hall presented a slide show of the greenhouse's construction and other gardening projects in Silvis before leading council members in a standing ovation for the volunteers at the meeting.

It has not been decided where the new road sign will be placed, Mr. Grafton said. He said Silvis hopes to get three more signs, each costing $125, so they can be displayed at several city entry points.