Planting with a Purpose brings thousands of flowering shrubs to city parks

CLEVELAND -- Plant a seed and watch it grow, it's the message behind a movement in bloom across Cleveland during the first "Planting with a Purpose" event to help beautify the city. Saturday morning dozens of volunteers spread out across six city parks to plant 4,000 flowering shrubs.

"We're all residents of the city so we're just taking up a shovel and just helping to make it a better place," said A.J. Petitti, President of Operations for Petitti Garden Centers.

The hours long event a team effort between the city of Cleveland and several groups including Petitti Garden Centers, who donated all the plants, Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere (R.A.K.E.) and MTD Products.

"Investing in Cleveland is investing in yourself whether you are still here used to live here whether you're a transplant it's a reflection on us," said Ricky Smith, R.A.K.E, Founder. "Cleveland is a great city with great people my thing is why not try to make it a better place."

The cold and rainy weather did not put a damper on the spirits of volunteers at Kirtland Park who spent hours digging through dirt. Planting 600 flowering shrubs called rose of Sharon, all to make a difference in their community.

"The city has it's budget challenges and it's difficult to find the resources from the city to do this on their own," said volunteer Lauren Murphy. "So anytime a private business is willing to help out and help beautify our city we're really happy to get all hands on deck."

As winter creeps closer Petitti is already thinking ahead to spring and how to grow this event even bigger. He envisions planting 50 to 100,000 trees and shrubs throughout the city over the next ten years with the help of volunteers willing to do the work to make Cleveland a better place.