You know how it is. A friend is selling raffle tickets, so you buy one. You just want to support the cause and help your friend unload some tickets.
That’s what happened to Ivette Immormino.
Immormino bought a raffle ticket for a $10,000 landscape makeover from Eric Jones, the Akron interior designer who decorated her home. He serves on the board of Keep Akron Beautiful, the organization benefitting from the fundraiser.
Then the unlikely happened. She won.
That posed a bit of a problem. The rules stipulate that the work must be done in Summit County. Immormino lives in Rocky River.
So Immormino ended up being not a recipient, but a donor.
She decided to give her prize away and asked Jones to help her identify a worthy recipient for the landscaping work, preferably an organization that serves children. Together they chose the Akron Rotary Camp, a facility in the Portage Lakes that provides overnight and day camps for children and adults with special needs.
“I wasn’t expecting to win,” Immormino said. “I never win anything. … I get this phone call, and I’m like, ‘What? I won what?’ ”
But she believes everything happens for a reason, and she said she’s glad for the opportunity to give back something that others can enjoy.
Coincidentally, Jones had made a similar donation nine years ago. He won the first Dreamscape raffle in 2004 and gave his prize to the Community AIDS Network, which used it to improve the grounds of its residential facility and offices.
Last week, Immormino’s gift took shape. The Rotary Camp was the site of a landscaping blitz that resulted in a new entry garden, walkway, boat rack and beach area.
Nick Roth of Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, the lead designer on the project, worked with the camp staff to plan the makeover. The camp is undergoing an extensive renovation funded by a $3.5 million capital campaign, so projects were chosen that would complement that work, Roth said.
“It’s just perfect timing,” said Dan Reynolds, who calls himself the camp’s director of endless possibilities. “It helps us make our grounds as beautiful as the facilities are.”
The Dreamscape crews turned a nondescript area around the camp’s sign into a welcome garden designed to beautify the entrance and direct storm runoff into a nearby drain. Lighting will illuminate the garden at night, and an irrigation system will keep it watered.
The crews installed permeable pavers to create a walkway on what used to be a trampled cut-through next to the dining hall. They also built a boat rack to corral the canoes that had been stored in a picnic shelter, installed a beach area on Rex Lake to provide better canoe access and removed a tree from the parking lot that was a frequent target of errant parkers and “a total eyesore,” Keep Akron Beautiful’s program manager, Jacqui Flaherty, said.
Crews representing a long list of donor companies followed a well-choreographed schedule to complete the work in less than a week, and to do it without getting in one another’s way.
Most of the companies have been involved with Dreamscape since its beginning, so they’ve gotten used to coordinating their efforts, Roth said. “It’s a well-oiled machine now.”
That’s one of the beauties of the Dreamscape program. More than two dozen companies donate goods or services to make the raffle and landscaping face-lift happen, donating everything from printing services and bottled water for the workers to plants and paver installation.
Roth said he enjoys the camaraderie and the sharing of tips that comes from working alongside other professionals. “I mean, they’re our competition, but at the same time, it’s kind of cool,” he said.
Kudos to those donor companies: Advanced Arboriculture, Belgard Hardscapes, Cascade Lighting, Circle K, Dayton Nurseries, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center, Gates Landscape Co., Graf Growers Garden Center, HF&A Marketing Communications, KB Compost Services, Main Street Gourmet, Naragon Irrigation, Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, National Industrial Lumber Co., Pam’s Perennial Plant Farm, Paul’s Greenhouse, R.B. Stout, R.G. Thomas Landscape and Design, Star Printing Co., Suncrest Gardens, TerraScape Ltd., Tim’s Custom Electric, Vision Graphics & Printing, Wilson Plumbing & Heating, W.L. Tucker Supply Co. and YES Press Printing Co.
Meanwhile, Immormino was just returning from a trip to Tanzania while the work was underway last week and was hoping to visit the camp with Jones sometime soon to see the results.
“Maybe I can help in another way,” she said.
The giving just keeps going.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.