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Turning a new leaf

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The old saying is that a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

The flowers and plants decorating city property may not be forever &8212; they change with the seasons &8212; but city horticulturist Barbara Blevins and a small crew of workers fight an ongoing battle to keep Demopolis looking good.

Blevins, 37, has no degree in horticulture. Instead, she learned her lessons from an early age, watching and helping her mother do the same thing outside their home near Dothan.

And her work has drawn admiration from all quarters &8212; specifically admiration from the city administration.

Blevins&8217; toughest &8212; and best &8212; accomplishment is likely the cleaning and maintenance of the fountain behind city hall. Earlier this year, the water was dark &8212; park-goers couldn&8217;t see the fish that inhabit the fountain.

Today, however, the water is much cleaner, as schools of rainbow koi and goldfish swim and wait for food.

Now, passersby can see the fish swimming along the bottom or swarming near the top, waiting to be fed.

Blevins said it takes a team to help keep the city beautiful

Antonio McClain, Reid Short, Cheryl Cunningham and Steven Cupid all work together to keep Demopolis shining.

Other city employees pitch in as well. Department of Public Works Director Mike Baker had the retaining barrier around the fountain repaired &8212; and maintenance workers David and Allen Dixon pitch in as well.