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Columbus Commons Blog

Two and a half years, thousands of flowers, and a great lawn

John Welcome joined the Columbus Commons team as the Park Technician two and a half years ago. A ten-year veteran of what he calls traditional, reactive landscape and grounds maintenance, John’s always had an interest in sports turf management. After hearing about the great lawns planned for Columbus Commons, he knew this was his opportunity to set a new standard for turf management in public spaces. He doesn’t like to compare his work to the turfs at places like Huntington Park or Crew Stadium, but if you’ve ever seen how good the lawns at the Commons look in mid-July after weeks of well-attended events, you can’t help but think maybe he should.

Not surprisingly, when asked what his favorite part about the Commons is John unequivocally answers, “The grass. It’s my favorite part.” “When the grass this time of year is really performing and is really green, and everything is starting to grow…” he trails off. But there’s more to what John does than just make the lawns look spectacular year-round.

Currently, John and a small team are planting over 3,500 annuals throughout the Commons and surrounding city blocks, part of the more than 20,000 flowers in the park. You may have noticed new flowering plants emerging over the past week at the Commons’ entrances on Town and Rich Streets, surrounding the Columbus Commons Main Parking Garage, and lining High Street in front of the Lazarus Building. John points out, “You’ll notice a lot of tropical plants. They stand out and bring a lot of vibrant colors to the park.”

And it doesn’t end there. When construction was set to begin on the new apartment buildings at the Commons – HighPoint on Columbus Commons – a decision was made to salvage the trees that had been planted on the HighPoint site and save them for future use. John successfully kept twelve trees alive, out of the ground and in a temporary storage area, for over seven months. Next time you come to the Commons, you’ll notice the trees have been installed along the perimeter of the East lawn at the corner of Third and Rich Streets.

And why does he do it all? Even when it means shoveling and plowing snow off of countless feet of pathways, sidewalks, and parking spaces throughout the winter. John says, “It’s the finished result, being able to see the results of what I do every day, the progress, the quality, knowing that people like to come to the park.” He adds, “When 10,000 people show up and get an opportunity to use the space and all the positivity that comes from it, it’s rewarding.”

And one quick reminder from John – be sure to pick up after your dog!