Louisville, Ky., – Louisville officials are honoring the memory of late city arborist Mark White. Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Downtown Partnership (LDP) dedicated the Mark White Garden in a sidewalk at the southwest corner of Fifth and Jefferson Streets.
White served Louisville Metro for nearly ten years and was appointed Metro Arborist on July 1, 2008 after spending a year and a half as a landscaping supervisor in the Facilities Division. Prior to working for the city, he ran a private landscaping business. He died February 9, 2015 after a long illness.
White was known for his positive spirit and winning attitude. Public Works Director Vanessa Burns said, “It’s Mark’s smile that I will remember most. Even though I know some days it was not easy for him to smile, I never saw a frown on him.”
Former Assistant Director for Roads and Operations Greg Hicks said, “Mark was one of the best men I’ve ever been around. He won’t be replaced as a man, especially the passion he had.” His passion also gained White some prestigious official recognition. In 2011 Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton presented him with the Molly Leonard Community Service Award.
In 2012 he earned the Dream Foundation Community Pride Service Award, and in 2013 he received the S. Russell Smith, Jr. Award of Excellence from LDP. “Mark made invaluable contributions to the beautification of Downtown Louisville,” said Rebecca Matheny, LDP’s Executive Director. “He was definitely our ‘go to’ guy on all tree-related plantings,” she added.
“We are proud to honor this great man’s commitment to enhancing Downtown Louisville’s appeal with the dedication of this beautiful garden,” said Matheny. “We believe he would be very pleased indeed.”
Fischer said, “There is nothing more appropriate we could do on a sunny spring day than dedicate a garden in the name of Mark White. Mark worked tir
elessly throughout his life to help make Louisville a greener and better place to live.”
White willingly shared his love and knowledge of trees with anyone who was interested. Ken Herndon, LDP’s Director of Operations, said, “Mark schooled me. I feel like an honorary arborist because of what he taught me.” White’s family, including wife Vicki White and their children Matthew and Anika White were on hand for the dedication.
The dedication plaque reads, “This urban garden is dedicated to the memory of Mark White from his friends at Louisville Metro Public Works and the Louisville Downtown Partnership.” Metro employees and LDP staff removed over 20 tons of debris from the trench.
Others who donated to the project include: Jim Wallitsch and Wallitsch Garden Center; Louisville Metro Urban Forester Erin Thompson; Bill Niemann of Sellersburg Metals and Welding; Ken Herndon of LDP; and Michael Hayman.