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Old Florida Heritage Highway Selected for Love Our Byways Conservation & Beautification Micro-Grants for Volunteer Projects 2021

By September 13, 2021No Comments

New Designations Splash Image reads Old Florida Heritage Highway 2021 Grant Recipient - Love Our Byways

Congratulations to Old Florida Heritage Highway for winning this grant in the first year!

The National Scenic Byway Foundation Foundation (NSBF) and American Park Network along with their Official Automotive Partner, Toyota Motor North America, have announced that Old Florida Heritage Highway has been selected for grant funding!

As described by the NSBF: “…The goal of Love Our Byways is to energize byway organizations to maximize community volunteer involvement. Winning projects will improve or enhance the byway’s “scenic viewshed” by improving an existing view through clean-ups, plantings and other enhancements, or by mitigating a poor or unsightly viewshed. Grants are for projects requiring up to $2,000 in total funds, with reliance on volunteers for needed labor…”

The response to the inaugural year of this new effort to fund byway beautification projects across the nation was amazing, and the Love Our Byways grant could only select 25 out of a large pool of applications.

Canopy of trees hangs over Old Florida Heritage Highway

Here are the details of this byway’s winning plan:

  • Keep Alachua County Beautiful (KACB), a non-profit organization based in Gainesville, will recruit a minimum of 35 volunteers to remove litter from SR 441 between Williston Road and Paynes Prairie, part of the Old Florida Heritage Highway. Their goal is 50 volunteers. As a main arterial for Gainesville, commuter and tourist traffic is high on this roadway and motorists strew litter along the highway;
  • Volunteers will receive safety instructions and will be required to wear closed-toe shoes and high-visibility safety vests. Volunteers will be provided with litter grabbers, gloves, and trash bags;
  • The group leader will be Keep Alachua County Beautiful staff, and will carry a first-aid kit and additional supplies;
  • Full trash bags and debris will be removed by the FDOT Maintenance Office, another one of the partners, and Alachua County will waive the tipping fees for disposal of the waste; and,
  • One of KACB’s volunteers, Kathleen Pagan, AICP, is a Senior Planner with the Alachua County Growth Management Department; she will be presenting a short talk about the importance of scenic byways at the beginning of the event.

Each participant will receive a:

  • A Milkweed plant to install at the project site or at home, to host migrating Monarch butterflies;
  • Toyota “Love Our Byways” t-shirt; and,
  • Keep Alachua County Beautiful t-shirt.

Love Byways Logos

Two Toyota vehicles will provide transport for supplies to the project location. A Toyota Sienna van and a Toyota Prius will be used for all events sponsored by Keep Alachua County Beautiful where transportation of materials, supplies or equipment is required.

There were many micro-grant applications, some by other Florida Scenic Highways. The Love Our Byways Team suggests all byways check with their local Toyota dealer to influence support of events in lieu of the grant, as Toyota is a key partner in this program. The National Scenic Byways Foundation is grateful for the hearty response to the grant, because it conveyed the importance of the grant in helping to sustain worthy byway projects. It is hoped that these great responses will help support renewed funding in future years.