Demopolis in Bloom celebrates six years

From left, Barbara Blevins, Sheryl Cunningham, Amy McGee and Mike Randall. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Transformed into a spring garden, the Demopolis Civic Center Thursday was the setting for the celebration of the sixth year of Demopolis in Bloom.

“Tonight is a big celebration of who we are,” said Kirk Brooker, emcee for the event.

In giving a brief background of Demopolis in Bloom, Brooker said the city started a concentration on for beautification when Barbara Blevins became the head of the horticulture department. She got the city involved in America in Bloom which came to the city “to judge us,” Brooker said. “We actually did really well, and each year we did a little better,” even getting some national awards.

“Barbara took it and grew it into Demopolis in Bloom,” he continued, “We’re here because of what you’ve done,” he told the audience, “your volunteer hours, keeping your grass cut, keeping your yard looking good, keeping your business, doing the extra effort to make where we live look good.”

Volunteers, homeowners, businesses and sponsors received recognition for their efforts to make Demopolis beautiful. The 25 volunteer organizations were surprised with gifts of live trees donated by Green Valley Farms of Montevallo.

A water wall set under a pergola formed the focal point on the Civic Center stage. It was there Demopolis in Bloom earlier in the day held a workshop for gardeners on plants that do well in the Demopolis area, growing a cutting garden and turf building.

Photos of volunteers at work and the results of their efforts played on a large screen. Demopolis City Councilmen handed out certificates to each of the Demopolis in Bloom recipients in their district.

Candace Dorriety, executive director of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, and John Scales, a member of the Demopolis in Bloom committee, conducted door prize drawings throughout the program.

Guests also visited the displays set up by more than 20 local vendors in the lobby of the Civic Center.

Volunteers recognized were the BWWMH Auxiliary, Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, First United Methodist Church Children’s Ministry, Pilot Club, 17th Judicial Circuit Court/Livingston, West Alabama Watchman, Woody Dinner Jr., Kiwanis Club, Cemetery Board.

Also, Beautification Committee, DHS Football, DHS Baseball, DHS Community Endorsement Program, Advanced Disposal, Rowley recycling, Collins Communications, U.S. Corps of Engineers, WestRock, Boy Scout Troop 41, Cemex, Greene County Steam Plant, Rotary Club, Alabama Power, Demopolis Food Pantry, Lions Club.

Demopolis in Bloom recipients were:

  • District 1: Lisa Compton, Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Dial, Alabama Power, Robertson Bank Downtown, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Wallace, Teresa Monroe, Theo Ratliff Center, Willie Kennedy, Stay & Play Nursery.
  • District 2: Spiller Furniture, Mrs. Johnny Scott, Thelma Williams.
  • District 3: First South Farm Credit, Patsy Akins, Sonic
  • District 4: Mr. and Mrs. David Turner, James Nelson, Larry Stratton, Richard McDonald and Gerald Gilbert; Jennifer Overstreet and Ellen Hardy.
  • District 5: Demopolis Animal Control, Rex Flowers, and Mr. and Mrs. Billy Traeger, Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Pickle and Mr. and Mrs. Elliot.

Photo of the Day

Cooley-Yard-of-the-Month_8075

The home of Jack and Patsy Cooley on Indian Hill Road was one of the homes awarded Best Blooming Home by Demopolis in Bloom for the month of July.

(Photo by Michael Clements)

America In Bloom names Demopolis best in nation

A three-year march toward aesthetic improvement reached a new milestone Saturday night when America In Bloom named Demopolis the national winner in its population category.

America In Bloom announced the award Saturday night at it annual banquet in Orlanda, Fla., bestowing upon the City of the People a best blooming city designation for the 7,001-12,000 population category.

Demopolis received an overall Bloom Rating of four out of a possible five. The scoring is broken down into six categories that add up to a total of 1,000 possible points. Overall, Demopolis scored 791 points.

The city’s strongest category performance came in Floral Displays, an area where Demopolis netted 144 of 175 possible points. The city also performed exceptionally well in Environmental Efforts and Landscaped areas, scoring 143 of 175 in the former category and 142 of 175 in the latter.

Demopolis scored 135 of 175 in Heritage Preservation, 116 of 175 in Urban Forestry and 111 of 125 in Overall Impression.

Included among the comments offered to the Demopolis In Bloom team by the America In Bloom judges was the praising of the city’s volunteer efforts.

“The level of partnership between city organizations and volunteer efforts in Demopolis is outstanding, and the commitment to a successful floral display and landscape program is amazing,” Demopolis’ AIB evaluation read. “You set lofty goals, establish committees with the right stakeholders, and then successfully implement programs that benefit the City of Demopolis and the region. We experienced a community that has come together to ‘plant pride.’”

With no representatives from Demopolis present at the ceremony, news of the city’s latest distinction came via social media.

“I found out late Saturday evening while watching the Alabama game. I had been watching Facebook because America In Bloom would post on Facebook what they were doing. My daughter called me because it was Saturday evening, I had been watching and we had not received any kind of award whatsoever. I was so disappointed,” Barbara Blevins, city horticulturist, said. “I know that as a team and as a group and as a city, we have really come a long way in the past six years. I just couldn’t believe that we didn’t get anything.”

After Blevins stopped following America In Bloom’s Facebook feed and turned her attention to the Alabama football team’s win over Colorado State, a call from her daughter revealed that Blevins’ team of workers and volunteers had done enough to earn one of the AIB’s highest distinctions.

“I was so thankful. I got on the phone right away and started calling everyone. I called Jen (Tate) from the Chamber and thanked her. I called Mike Baker of Public Works. I tried to touch base with all of our volunteers and everyone that has helped,” Blevins said. “I know I haven’t reached everybody that has helped.”

Those involved with Demopolis’ progress over the last three years will have an opportunity to celebrate Oct. 24 during a Chamber of Commerce after hours event in which all of the Demopolis In Bloom award winners and Chamber of Commerce Pride award winners from the last three years will be honored.

“I think that’s what we need for the city, to let people know that we really, really appreciate everything that they do,” Blevins said.

After Demopolis’ first America In Bloom award, Blevins and her crew will now turn their attention toward repeating the feat next year.

“I think we can get a five bloom and we’re a four bloom now,” Blevins said. “We’ve still got some work to do in some of the areas, but as long as everybody works together, we will make it.”