Winners of the prestigious 2011 America in Bloom national awards were announced at the organization’s annual program held in the Washington, D.C. area on Oct. 6-8.
“Quality of life is an important element in promoting a city, and is an important factor in its economic prosperity. We know that beauty is one of the factors that tie people to a community, and congratulate not only the winners, but all the participants on their efforts,” said awards program chairperson, Jack Clasen.
Each participating town was judged on eight criteria: tidiness, community involvement, environmental awareness, heritage, urban forestry, landscape, floral displays, and turf and groundcovers across three sectors: municipal, residential and commercial.
Specially trained judges visited towns of similar populations and spent two days touring each town, meeting municipal officials, residents, and volunteers.
America in Bloom president Marvin Miller stated, "We are excited that these cities are participating in America in Bloom’s national award program. With this commitment, they join with nearly 200 other cities across the US and many more around the world which have recognized the importance of flowers, trees, and other plants to the economic, environmental, psychological and sociological well-being of their residents."
Population category winners:
•Sackets Harbor, N.Y. - Under 4,000 Population Category
•Gallipolis, Ohio - 4,001 – 10,000 Population Category
•Bexley, Ohio - 10,001 – 15,000 Population Category
•Arroyo Grande, Calif. - 15,001 – 25,000 Population Category
•Holland, Mich. - 25,001 – 50,000 Population Category
•Fayetteville, Ark. - Over 50,000 Population Category
Criteria award winners:
These awards are based on feedback received from the teams of judges on outstanding efforts they witnessed during their summer of judging across America. These criteria awards only go to one community among all the AIB entrants across all population categories.
Tidiness: Holland, Mich.
Environmental Effort: McCall, Idaho
Community Involvement: Washington, Mo.
Heritage Preservation: Arroyo Grande, Calif.
Urban Forestry: Bexley, Ohio
Landscaped Areas: Sackets Harbor, Mich.
Floral Displays: Springfield, Ohio
Turf & Groundcover Areas: Fayetteville, Ark.
Special award winners:
•Best Hanging Baskets: Demopolis, Ala.
•Most Whimsical Feature: North East, Pa.– frog sculptures
•Best Adaptive Reuse Project: Gallipolis, Ohio: Ariel Theatre – Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Center
•Most Beautiful Town Entrance: Rising Sun, Ind.
•Greatest Number of Years in AIB: Fayetteville, Ark.
•Best Community Garden Program: Coshocton, Ohio
•Best Feature for Young People: Springfield, Ohio – Eco-Sports Corridor
•Most Creative Ideas for Fundraising: Springfield, Ohio -Hollandia Botanical Garden (sell butterflies to be released in the name of a loved one)
•Most Creative Idea in the Past 10 Years: The “Ten Years of Best Ideas” book by Evelyn Alemanni which presents nearly 2000 best practices and photos of accomplishments by America in Bloom participating towns over the last ten years.
Registrations for the 2012 program can be submitted until February 28, 2012.
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 an annual national program that provides one-on-one mentoring and written evaluations to towns and cities around the United States.