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A city in bloom

KING CITY — King City earned a 3 out of 5 bloom rating and was specially recognized for its heritage preservation at the 2017 America in Bloom National Awards Program, the results of which were announced over the weekend at the annual awards banquet in Holliston, Mass., on Oct. 7.

“America in Bloom is helping towns and cities of all sizes achieve their potential,” said Laura Kunkle, executive director of America in Bloom. “Every year our participants raise the bar, and the accomplishments and progress shown by this year’s group is again remarkable. These are, without a doubt, some of the best places to live in America.”

All participants were evaluated on six criteria: overall impression, environmental awareness, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas and floral displays.

Additionally, they were judged on their community involvement across municipal, residential and commercial sectors.

America in Bloom is the only national awards program that sends specially trained judges to personally visit participating cities. In addition, each city receives a detailed written evaluation that can be used as a guide to future improvements.

American in Bloom judges Sue Amatangelo and Laurie Waller visited King City in June to evaluate the community’s efforts in beautifying the city. The duo also stopped by communities of similar populations and spent two days touring each town, meeting municipal officials, residents and volunteers. Other competitors in the 13,000 to 18,000 population category were Dyer, Ind.; Ottawa, Ill.; and Tavares, Fla.

As a first-time participant, King City received a 3-bloom rating out of a possible five blooms as well as special recognition for its heritage preservation. The city also received a special award, “Most Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Practices.”

Amatangelo and Waller were hosted by King City in Bloom, a local group of volunteers who are working to improve the landscape and appearance of the community. Member Phoebe Cheney said the nonprofit has received the judges’ 39-page evaluation report and will go over the results at the group’s board meeting Monday night.

“We weren’t really competing against anyone but ourselves,” Cheney said. “Just to be told that what we’ve done makes a difference, and here’s another idea to make a difference, is wonderful.”

King City in Bloom recently bought 40 new banners for the fall to place on light poles in the downtown area. The red banners feature a harvest theme with the words “King City Community,” about half of which are written in Spanish in support of the area’s large hispanic population.

“We feel better when we’re surrounded by some beauty, rather than trash and weeds. That’s our goal — make the town just a little better every year for people to live in, walk in and enjoy,” Cheney said.

America in Bloom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

To date, more than 250 communities from 45 states have participated in the program.

Registration for the 2018 awards program is due Feb. 28. Eligible participants include towns, cities, college and university campuses, business districts, military installations and recognized neighborhoods of large cities.


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