City launches beautification awards

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The City of Demopolis is a defending America In Bloom champion so to speak, and city horticulturist Barbara Blevins isn’t looking to hand over her crown anytime soon.

Last fall, Demopolis received a Three Bloom Rating from America In Bloom, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

With Spring in the air and a revisit from AIB on the horizon, Blevins is seeking ways to keep Demopolis’ weekend warriors motivated.

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“I’ve seen a lot of people out and doing spring cleaning already,” she said. “A lot more than what we’ve noticed in years past.”

Hoping to capture that enthusiasm, Blevins and the Horticulture Department have created six beautification awards they hope will lay the groundwork for another stellar AIB judging recap.

Beginning April 1, Blevins and her department will begin bestowing awards for the two Best Blooming Businesses (Historic District and Highway 80,) the two best Blooming Homes, the Best Blooming Church and the Most Beautiful Vegetable Garden.

“We just want to recognize those who are working so hard to make and keep our city beautiful,” Blevins said, noting that the winners will receive a certificate and the right to display the sign for one month before it is moved to the next winner.

While the awards are designed to be a pat on the back for those who put forth the effort, Blevins has an ulterior motive as well.

“Hopefully, when the America in Bloom judges come back to town, there won’t be as much work to do for the homeowners because they’ve been doing it all spring,” she said.

Last year’s AIB visit took place in June but a 2012 date has not yet been set. Blevins said once that date is confirmed, citizens should be on the lookout for notifications which she said would be placed on water customers’ bills.

Local judging criteria will be general tidiness, health of vegetation, choice of plants, plant harmony, landscape components and balance in the display.

The contest will run from April 1 thru Sept. 28.

“This contest is to promote our city and to let everyone know that what they’re doing is very much appreciated, and with everyone’s help we will make Demopolis Beautiful,” Blevins said. “Everyone needs to continue manicuring their lawns, picking up trash, trimming your shrubs and planting those flowers.”

Contestants will be judged by horticulture employees, city department heads and the chamber of commerce.

If you would like to nominate someone for an award, you may call public works at 289-3879, Blevins at 341-2666 or the chamber of commerce at 289-0270.