Photo by Ryan Cronk
America in Bloom judges Bruce Riggs and Laurie Potier-Brown talk about the national awards program at King City’s annual Beautification Week barbecue luncheon June 13.

KING CITY — America in Bloom judges returned for the second time to King City last week to evaluate the community’s efforts in beautifying the city and provide feedback on ways to enhance the area for the future.

Judging duo Bruce Riggs from New York and Laurie Potier-Brown from Florida were the guest speakers at the annual Beautification Week barbecue luncheon June 13 at San Lorenzo County Park, hosted by the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the King City Rotary Club.

This year’s 25th annual Beautification Week, a volunteer effort by the Chamber to improve the city’s appearance before the Fourth of July celebration, is set for June 23 through July 1. The weeklong promotion asks all businesses and residents to do at least one thing to enhance the look of their property.

“I encourage each and every one of you to jump on board the beautification bandwagon,” said Karen Jernigan, chairwoman of Beautification Week. “Ask yourself what you can do to improve the appearance of your home, business or rental property. If all 14,000 of us who live here did one thing to make improvements, we could see a remarkable change in our town for the better.”

The volunteer judges toured the city for two days, June 14 and 15, to produce an evaluation portfolio based on criteria from America in Bloom. They looked at the community’s overall impression and vitality, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, landscaped areas, urban forestry and floral displays.

“We’re very impressed with everything that we’ve seen so far. It’s really encouraging. I can honestly say that your exhibit there with the windmill just as you come into town is a traffic-stopper,” said Riggs, referring to the newly installed windmill and landscaping at the park’s entrance.

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. This is King City’s second year as an America in Bloom participant.

“America in Bloom is a community pride organization, and you are really showing how much pride you have in the community,” Riggs said. “It’s heartening to come to a place that has gotten its act together.”

In addition to a detailed written evaluation citing strengths and opportunities for improvement, the judges will give the city a “bloom rating” and highlight a project or program they deem to be extraordinary. Last year, as a first-time participant, King City received a 3-bloom rating out of a possible five blooms and an award for “Most Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Practices,” as well as special recognition for its heritage preservation.

“It’s a joint effort of us suggesting things for you to do, and hopefully you take them happily,” Riggs said.

Both Riggs and Potier-Brown were hosted by King City in Bloom, a nonprofit group of volunteers who are working to improve the landscape and appearance of the community.

“We’re so grateful to have them here,” said Laurie Slaten, chairwoman of King City in Bloom. “We will be welcoming their constructive critique gladly, so that we can make our town that much more beautiful.”

According to America in Bloom, more than 250 communities from 45 states have participated in the program to date. This year’s awards will be announced Sept. 27-29 at America in Bloom’s National Symposium and Awards Celebration in Lexington, Ky.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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