Name: Micah Putman

Occupation: Assistant Facilities Manager

Tell me about being the Assistant Facilities Manager at Allerton and job duties you have.

As the Assistant Facilities Manager I get to work on so many fun projects, and there is never a dull moment. I am in charge of the day-to-day maintenance operations of the park. I oversee a talented and hardworking crew made up of maintenance workers who make stuff happen in and around the buildings and park attendants who make the grounds beautiful. At any given moment I might be designing a planting bed, pruning hedge, painting a wall, ordering engine parts, scheduling weekend staff or meeting with volunteers and donors. I am privileged to collaborate on many levels with many passionate individuals who all share a common love for Allerton Park. 

What new things are going on at Allerton?

There are so many great new things happening at Allerton! Current projects include renovating the main parking lot bathrooms, resurfacing the main parking lot, sprucing up mansion rooms, cleaning and revamping the Koi pond, and renewing the brick wall garden (which is thanks to some generous donors, Mike and Deborah Westjohn.) Also, be on the lookout for some major facilities changes. We are in the planning process to maximize the use of many of the historical buildings on the estate for community space. Artist in residence, new visitor center, and updated kids camp and programming space. 

What's your favorite part about the park? Favorite annual event?

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My favorite part about the park is that it is free and open every day to anyone and everyone. We are constantly pushing to make the park more accessible, relevant and resourceful for wider and more diverse groups of people. But the best part is right this second anyone can come into the park and find peace, inspiration, healing, and a truly unique experience. I think our annual events are a big piece of that push with concerts, holiday events, trail runs, dinners, festivals, and myriad cultural events that build on the unique experience provided by the estate itself. But my favorite event has to be the plant sale. Every spring we hold a plant sale fundraiser for the park. Proceeds go directly to supporting community events and maintaining the grounds. It is a wonderful time of sharing plants, talking “shop” with other gardeners and enjoying all the park has to offer. 

While visiting Allerton, what other things in the area can people do/experience?

First I will recommend hiking the yellow trail. It takes you through the formal gardens, past many awesome statues, through high quality upland forest and winds back towards the mansion along the Sangamon river. Then you’ve got to stop at the greenhouse café. It’s the perfect go-to while exploring the park. Also, make a stop in downtown Monticello — good restaurants, brewery, shops and the train museum!

Where do you see Allerton Park in five years?

I see Allerton as the premiere destination in central Illinois for horticulture and landscape architecture overflowing with unique tree and flower specimens. I see pristine natural areas free of invasive species, supporting an extreme diversity of native flora and fauna. Allerton will have exceptionally maintained facilities with sought after conference space and be the hottest wedding venue in Illinois. In 5 years our programming will be the most diverse and culturally groundbreaking in the region. Allerton will have legions of volunteers working tirelessly, as they do, and so many more generous donors who give so much we will have to think of new ways to spend the money! Also, our staff will start a rec softball team and be national champions! As for me, I see myself working behind the scenes in some capacity, and every once in a while, find myself in the annual garden or perhaps the bulb garden, stopping to smell the flowers.

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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites


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