Demopolis wins America in Bloom National 2013 Awards

Published 4:13 pm Monday, September 23, 2013

America in Bloom judge Dwight Lund (center) is shown with, from left, Jenn Tate, Demopolis horticulturist Barbara Blevins, Morgan Allen and Diane Brooker.

America in Bloom judge Dwight Lund (center) is shown with, from left, Jenn Tate, Demopolis horticulturist Barbara Blevins, Morgan Allen and Diane Brooker.

After months of anxious waiting, top honors for the prestigious 2013 America in Bloom program were announced at the annual awards held in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 21.

America in Bloom executive director Laura Kunkle, said, “America in Bloom is helping participants of all types achieve their potential. The accomplishments and progress shown by this year’s towns and cities is remarkable.”

Demopolis earned a four bloom rating and is the overall winner in the 7,001 to 12,000-population category. In addition, the city received special mention for their floral displays.

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“This says a lot about our city,” Demopolis horticulturist Barbara Blevins said. “Everybody is pulling together to make the city beautiful. I’m just so excited for the city.”

Demopolis was judged on six criteria: overall impression, environmental awareness, heritage, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays, across four sectors: municipal, residential, commercial and community involvement.

Ed Hooker III and Jim Abraham, two specially trained AIB judges, visited towns of similar populations and spent two days touring each town, meeting municipal officials, residents and volunteers. Other competitors in the 7,001 to 12,000 category were Coshocton, Ohio, and Tarboro, N.C.

Hooker and Abraham were impressed with the city’s floral displays and commented, “For the third year in a row, Demopolis has delighted the judges with brilliant and well designed hanging baskets, streetscape planters and beds. The city’s horticulture staff has reached out to local businesses to offer design assistance, both in planning and implementing successful displays of color, texture and visual interest throughout the community. The very effective use of bold foliage was evident all over town. Obviously the city of Demopolis recognizes the value of having well landscaped areas of town, which is reflected in its commitment of city resources to support the horticulture department. From the colorful plantings around the Confederate Monument to the whimsical baskets and pedestal plantings around City Hall, downtown Demopolis is alive with color.”

Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said the work of Blevins and her department speaks for itself.

“The fact that we’ve been recognized in a national competition against cities our size is outstanding,” Grayson said. “This is the direction we’re trying to go. This is one piece of the puzzle to make Demopolis a destination city.”

Registrations for the 2014 national awards program can be submitted until Feb. 28, 2014. Eligible participants include towns, cities, college and university campuses, business districts, military installations and recognized neighborhoods of large cities.

America in Bloom is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) 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. America in Bloom provides educational programs, resources, and the challenge of a friendly competition between participating communities across the country.

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