KING CITY — Judges from America in Bloom visited 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.
The judging duo Sue Amatangelo and Laurie Waller were the featured speakers at the annual Beautification Week barbecue luncheon June 7 at San Lorenzo County Park, hosted by the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the local Rotary Club.
“They are here in King City for two whole days to observe our community and offer recommendations for how we could enhance what we have here,” said Karen Jernigan, chairwoman of Beautification Week, an effort by the chamber to improve and preserve the city’s beauty.
The judges’ visit could not have come soon enough, as this year’s Beautification Week is set for June 24 through July 2. The weeklong promotion asks all businesses and residents to do one thing to improve the appearance of their property.
“I encourage each and every one of you to jump on board the beautification bandwagon,” Jernigan said. “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.”
Amatangelo and Waller both agreed with that sentiment, saying that it takes the entire community — residents, businesses and municipalities — to work together to accomplish this goal.
“All three of those make a community great,” Amatangelo said. “Think of it as a three-legged stool. If you didn’t have that one leg there, that stool would fall over.”
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 first year as an America in Bloom participant.
The volunteer judges toured the city for two days, June 7 and 8, to produce an evaluation portfolio based on criteria from America in Bloom. They looked at the community’s overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, landscaped areas, urban forestry, floral displays and its involvement in the municipal, commercial and residential sectors.
“We’re going to provide you with a written evaluation, and that evaluation will help you see some of the ways — through our eyes — that you can take to become a better community,” Amatangelo said.
In addition to a detailed written evaluation citing strengths and opportunities for improvement, the judges will give the city a “bloom rating” and mention a project or program they deem to be extraordinary.
According to Amatangelo, being an America in Bloom city generates positive change in the community and improves the overall quality of life, while increasing civic pride and tourism and decreasing vandalism and crime in the area.
She called it a “powerful community building tool.”
“The more you break down those walls and you start working together, it makes a huge difference,” she said.
Amatangelo and Waller were hosted by King City in Bloom, a recently formed group of volunteers who are working to improve the landscape and appearance of the community. Member Phoebe Cheney said she considers the judges as consultants, helping to add to the work that has already been done by the community.
“They’re looking for good things that we can build on,” Cheney said. “They’ve been terrific.”