Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kasich Administration uproots the Peoples' Garden

Retired Division of Natural Areas and Preserve chief Guy Denny is disappointed that Gov. John Kasich and his wife, Karen, have little interest in the well-maintained, largely privately funding of the governor's residence in Columbus.

That is unlike the previous two first ladies who took - and still take - an active roll in developing the one-of-a-kind native- and formal-gardens at the residence.

Beefed up as well is the security at the residence though no one is actually living there.

At issue is that former first Lady Hope Taft raised outside funding to assist in developing a herb garden at what has become a showpiece attraction duplicated at no other governors' residence.

Also active is Fran Strickland, the immediate past first lady. Both former first ladies are heavily involved in the project.

Taft was told that the funds could not be spent, the fear being that people would believe that tax dollars were being utilized for the garden's construction and maintenance, Denny said.

Denny works an ad-hoc committee on the garden project which includes all kinds of Ohio native flowering and other plants, some of which are endangered or threatened.

Also, each county is represented by a locally supplied stone or rock engraved with its name.

Worst of all, Denny says, is that neither Kaern Kasich has even attended any of the governor's residence garden meetings designed to foster public appreciation of the work as well as its upkeep and expansion.

"It's so, so sad," Denny said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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