Project GREEN News Release
April 16, 2014

Project GREEN Gardens to complement the Ned Ashton House
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Project GREEN has launched a new project in cooperation with the city of Iowa City to design landscaping and plant a public garden that incorporates much of the existing plant materials at the historic Ned Ashton House at 820 Park Road. In recognition of the longstanding partnership, the property surrounding Ashton House will be named the Project GREEN Gardens.

Iowa City purchased the house, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2001, using Community Development Block Grant Acquisition Program in October 2011, and agreed to preserve the home and help protect it from future flooding. Iowa City is using the Ashton House for meetings and special events. It will accommodate up to 100 people.

Ashton, a University of Iowa professor of civil engineering from 1943 to 1957, designed the home to allow water to flow through the basement as the Iowa River flooded. He was a pioneer for the welded plate girder bridges. Ashton has been called “the most distinguished bridge engineer in the history of Iowa.” He designed numerous bridges spanning the Mississippi River, as well as smaller ones, including the Benton Street Bridge.

Mike Moran, director of Iowa City’s Park & Recreation Department, said Iowa City’s partnership with Project GREEN benefits the entire area. “Project GREEN has been involved in multiple projects to enhance and improve our area for decades. Our staff works well with Project GREEN volunteers, and they have the public’s interest at heart. They seek to not only improve the visual appearance, but the quality of life for our residents.”

Recently, Project GREEN (Growing to Reach Environmental Excellence Now) received a grant from the Community Foundation of Johnson County for the new garden project. Additional grant funds and partners are being sought to complete gardens that will be installed in phases.

Funds will provide perennial flowers, in addition to deciduous and conifer plantings. Laura Hawks, landscape architect, designed a landscape plan, focusing on the historical aspects of the Ashton House. Signage for the garden area identifying historic trees will be installed this spring along with a peony and 30-foot perennial garden. Project GREEN volunteers will install some of the plantings this spring and provide ongoing maintenance for the home’s gardens in cooperation with Iowa’s Park & Recreation Department.

Cindy Parsons and Diane Allen, co-chairs of Project GREEN, said naming the Project GREEN Garden is an honor recognizing the organization’s dedication and many years of service to the area as well as the ongoing partnership with Iowa City. “The Ned Ashton House and Project GREEN Gardens will become a destination location. Visitors and gardeners will enjoy the scenic beauty of the gardens along the Iowa River.”

Contributions in support of the Project GREEN Garden may be made at the Community Foundation of Johnson County where Project GREEN opened an endowment fund to provide ongoing maintenance of local beautification projects.

The Project GREEN Gardens are part of ongoing 46-year partnership with the city of Iowa City. Since Project GREEN (Grow to Reach Environmental Excellence Now) was launched in 1968, the nonprofit has funded more than $1.8 million in projects, including a $75,000 gift in 2012 to Iowa City to fund plantings near the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area lodge at the city’s newest and largest park on Sand Road. Through the years, the all-volunteer Project GREEN effort has grown to include parks, roadsides, riverfronts and median parkways on state, county, and city properties and all public school grounds. Project GREEN also supports efforts to educate citizens about the importance of beautifying private property as well. The organization will celebrate 50 years of service to the community in 2018.

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Project GREEN co-chairs, Cindy Parsons, 337.9359 and
Diane Allen, 354.5720 or
Mike Moran, Iowa City Park & Recreation director,

Source: Linda Schreiber,, 319.936.8600