Published On: Fri, Jun 13th, 2014

America in Bloom: More than just a beauty contest

By Sara Swann

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In 2011, Lewisburg won the America’s Coolest Small Town competition. Now on June 19 and 20, judges from America in Bloom (AIB), a national beautification program, will determine whether Lewisburg is the prettiest small town.

However, with six evaluation categories, the AIB competition is hardly just about beauty. The categories include Floral Displays, Landscaped Areas, Urban Forestry, Environmental Efforts, Heritage Preservation and Overall Impression.

“It’s not just about looking at what’s pretty,” Shannon Beatty, the coordinator of the AIB project for the city of Lewisburg, said. “It”s about environmental and lifestyle enhancements.”

Once points are totaled each town receives a bloom rating on a scale of 1-5, which also determines the winners in each population category. Criteria Awards are also given to the best of the best in each of the six categories listed above.

Lewisburg is competing against four other towns in the 5,000-and-under population category. Everyone is encouraged to do whatever they can to prepare for the judges’ arrival. For instance, sweeping in front of shops, washing windows, picking up trash or litter, recycling, and tidying up in general are all ways that can help Lewisburg, and not just for the AIB competition.

“In preparation for America in Bloom I realized that we do a lot more to benefit our environment and our city than I thought we did,” Beatty said. “But this program has helped pull all the pieces together.”

The AIB Awards Symposium will be held in October in Philadelphia, PA, where the judges’ observations from each city will be shared. For more information about Lewisburg s participation in AIB, contact Shannon Beatty at 304-645-2080. And to learn more about AIB visit their website at www.americainbloom.org.