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Award date nearing for Demopolis and America in Bloom

Suspense is building as representatives from Demopolis plan to travel to Washington, D.C., during the first week of October to find out whether the city is a winner in the America In Bloom national awards program.

The 2011 America in Bloom Symposium and Awards Program is a national conference that will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Va., October 6-8, and draw community leaders and active citizens from across the United States for the 10-year milestone celebration of the America in Bloom (AIB) national awards program.

Demopolis Horticulturist Barbara Blevins plans to attend the event where she hopes to find out that her department’s work in beautification has earned national recognition.

AIB is a grassroots community revitalization program that brings citizens together to improve the quality of life in their towns. A pair of AIB judges visited Demopolis over the summer and conducted an extensive evaluation of all the town is doing to make a difference through public plantings, as well as their commitments to environmental sustainability, community involvement and heritage preservation.

The AIB judges’ report the town receives after the awards will be a valuable blueprint that captures all the efforts and shares recommendations, ideas and resources for future efforts.

In each population category, the community with the highest score out of 1,000 points will be declared the population winner. Each community also receives a bloom rating that can be used for promotional purposes, as well as a benchmark for continuous improvement. Entrants that score in the 800 range are four-bloom towns. The few who break 900 are five-bloom towns.

In addition to the population category, all participating communities are eligible to be nominated by the judges for eight criteria awards, recognizing AIB cities that are exceptional in floral displays, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf and ground-cover areas, environmental awareness, tidiness, heritage preservation and community involvement.

Additional awards include the You Tube video contest, which encourages all current and past AIB participants to capture their stories and share the impact their efforts have made. The winning community will receive a $500 prize.

This is also the third year AIB presents the John R. Holmes III Community Champion award, recognizing a peer-nominated individual for outstanding leadership. Passionate volunteers are the lifeblood of AIB and American towns and this is a great way to recognize the dynamic individuals who mobilize citizens to plant pride and prosper.

Criteria awards will be announced on October 6; the remaining awards will be given on October 8.