The home of Eddie and Judith Bray, in the 100 block of Mapleton Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, was honored with a beautification award Oct. 8 from the Farms Beautification Advisory Commission.

The home of Eddie and Judith Bray, in the 100 block of Mapleton Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, was honored with a beautification award Oct. 8 from the Farms Beautification Advisory Commission.

Photo provided by Grosse Pointe Farms


Beautification awards in Farms rooted in community pride

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 15, 2019

 Patrick and Valerie Moran’s home, in the 400 block of Lexington Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, has been a “labor of love” for the couple, as they work to improve the property. The home was one of a dozen honored with beautification awards from the city Oct. 8 in a ceremony at Pier Park.

Patrick and Valerie Moran’s home, in the 400 block of Lexington Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, has been a “labor of love” for the couple, as they work to improve the property. The home was one of a dozen honored with beautification awards from the city Oct. 8 in a ceremony at Pier Park.

Photo provided by Grosse Pointe Farms

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Glorious gardens, pretty porches and lush lawns don’t happen by accident, and the Grosse Pointe Farms Beautification Advisory Commission again acknowledged the toil in the soil that goes into a picture perfect property during its 31st annual awards ceremony Oct. 8 at Pier Park.

“A lot of things have changed since (the Beautification Advisory Commission’s founding in) 1988, but one thing has stayed the same: residents like you who continue to add value to your properties” and the community, said Farms City Councilman and Beautification Advisory Commission Chair Lev Wood. “Your blood and your sweat and your plans continue to ensure that Grosse Pointe Farms remains beautiful.”

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Andrew and Elizabeth “Betsy” Housey, of the 300 block of Touraine Road, received an honor for their home: The couple work as professional landscapers, Andrew Housey said. He said they’ve lived in the house for the last 18 years.

“We’ve updated it twice since then,” he said. “There’s a lot of pride we take in the house.”

David and Lynn Grosse, of the 300 block of Moross Road, also had an advantage: Lynn Grosse is a former Beautification Commission member and a master gardener with an advanced master gardener certification, said her husband, adding that his wife has been known to move a bush “because it wasn’t happy” where it was.

Patrick and Valerie Moran, of the 400 block of Lexington Road, live in a relatively new house. Valerie Moran said it was even featured in a DTE Energy commercial — for a surprise-party scene — and she said the bushes on the side were transplanted from the Grosse Pointe City dental office of Dr. William Jennings when the Morans learned that Jennings was having them removed for new landscaping.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Valerie Moran said of their work on the home. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Carl and Lee Croskey, of the 200 block of Moran Road, moved into their home about 2 1/2 years ago, and since then, they’ve redone everything inside and out, Carl Croskey said.

Eddie and Judith Bray have likewise only been in their home in the 100 block of Mapleton Road for about 2 1/2 years. Judith Bray said the home was constructed in 1956 or 1957, but wasn’t always in the Farms.

“It was moved from when I-94 was being built,” she said.

They’ve redone all of the landscaping and added features like a stone terrace in the back.

Their neighbor across the street, Mary Petz, wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, but the Brays attested to her hard work. Eddie Bray said Petz “totally redesigned her house.”

“The house is always kept pristine and nice,” he said of both the interior and exterior. “We get to look at that house when we look out our (front) window.”

Troy and Stacey Gearhart, of the 300 block of Kerby Road, have lived in their home roughly five years. Troy Gearhart said they’ve changed the landscaping each of the last four years, and most of the plants have been moved about four times as they tried to find the best spots for everything.

Steven and Leslie McMillan, of the 200 block of Fisher Road, were honored as well for their home. Steven McMillan could say with pride that he “did everything” himself, instead of hiring professional landscapers.

“This is my hobby and my labor of love,” he said.

Barbara Palazzolo, of the first block of Newberry Place, was on hand with her son, Joseph.

“I’m very grateful to live in Grosse Pointe Farms. It’s a beautiful community,” she said. “My mother always taught us to be prideful of our property. … Thank you. This is really special.”

Barbara Palazzolo said her mother won a beautification award for her home in Grosse Pointe Park about 25 years ago.

Other winners included John and Gail Kennedy, of the 200 block of Kenwood Court; Bruce and Joy Campbell, of the 100 block of Charlevoix Avenue; and William and Kathy Patterson, of the first block of Vendome Road.

“The Grosse Pointe Farms Beautification Awards ceremony is another fine occasion that shows residents’ humility and down-to-earth dirty hands and gloves goodwill for the city,” City Councilwoman and Beautification Advisory Commission member Sierra Donaven said via email. “Chairman (and) Councilman Lev Wood always serves as an outstanding MC, and Assistant City Manager Derrick Kozicki goes the extra mile for a perfect celebration, and a thank you from the city to all of the awardees. Being a member of the (Beautification) Commission provides an invaluable opportunity for me to shake hands and congratulate residents for taking personal interest in the overall value and beautification of the city.”

Mayor Louis Theros was also on hand to congratulate the winners.

“I truly believe that keeping your home up is contagious,” he told them. “Thank you so much for all you do to make our community look beautiful and wonderful.”

Besides the beautification awards, Wood said the commission does a spring planting, an annual Department of Public Works appreciation lunch and fall harvest decorations on the Hill. For the last two years, he said, it has also organized a spring educational seminar for the public.

“Thank you all for your excellent work,” Wood told the winners. “We all appreciate it. Your neighbors appreciate it.”