City in running for beautification award

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thanks to two years worth of work planting, pulling and pushing by city horticulturist Barbara Blevins and her staff, Demopolis has a unique opportunity with America in Bloom.

America in Bloom is a non-profit organization that encourages adornment through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants and other ecological enhancements.

The city of Demopolis pre-qualifies to participate in the America in Bloom contest during the week of June 13-17.

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The America in Bloom judges review and evaluate each community in eight categories: tidiness, environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral displays and turf and ground cover areas.

Within each category, judges will evaluate efforts made by three distinctive sectors: Municipal/Pubic Properties, Commercial Sector and Private Properties/Citizens.

Barbara Blevins and the Horticulture Department are asking for assistance in helping to tidy up the community.

“We need businesses, homeowners, schools and churches to jump on board to get this city clean. We were chosen to be judged,” Blevins said.

“This is a way to get people involved in the city,” Jenn Tate, director of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce said. “Barbara worked hard for two years to get America in Bloom to come to our city. She sent in photos of our community and that’s how we pre-qualify for the contest. If we work hard to get a high Bloom rating, this could open many doors for us.”

A high Bloom rating would enable Demopolis to be featured in Planting in Our Communities in America in Bloom’s publication. It would also enable the city to attract tourists.

“We’re trying to better our chances of increasing tourism. If we can get a high rating, people will just travel here to see how beautiful our town really is. And we need this exposure,” said Tate.

The Horticulture Department is taking volunteer work as well.

“We’re really blessed as opposed to what some communities don’t have,” said Blevins. “We want people to be proud of where they live and we want our city to stay beautiful. Planting plots, weed eating, anything that people can do in their own yards will be greatly appreciated.”

“I’ve always bragged about how neat this town is,” Tate added. “Downtown is great. Barbara and her department do a wonderful job. They take so much pride in their work. It would be a shame if they didn’t get a good rating. I want to see good things happen for them and the town.”

For additional information on how to help tidy up the community, the Horticulture Department can be contacted at 289-0747.