KING CITY — King City earned a five-star rating out of a possible 10 stars and was specially recognized for its community vitality by the 2018 America in Bloom National Awards Program, the results of which were announced Sept. 29 at the annual symposium and awards celebration in Lexington, Ky.

“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 seven criteria: overall impression, community vitality, environmental efforts, heritage celebration, urban forestry, landscaped areas and flowers. 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 participants.

In addition, each participant receives a detailed written evaluation that can be used as a guide to future improvements.

American in Bloom judges Bruce Riggs and Laurie Potier-Brown visited King City in June to evaluate the community’s efforts in beautifying the area. The duo also stopped by communities of similar populations and spent two days touring each city, meeting municipal officials, residents and volunteers. Other communities in the 10,000 to 14,000 population category were Coshocton, Ohio; Lawrenceburg, Ky.; and Newtown Square, Pa.

This was King City’s second year in the America in Bloom program. Last year it earned three out of five “blooms,” a rating system that was changed to stars this year, as well as an award for “Most Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Practices” and special recognition for its heritage preservation.

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

“King City in Bloom is very grateful to America in Bloom for their award bestowed to us in their newest criterion area of ‘Community Vitality,’” said Laurie Slaten, chair of King City in Bloom. “The judges’ observation of the King City Recreation Department’s program, its facilities and resource partnerships with the City of King, King City Police Department and Monterey’s First Tee Organization demonstrated to them its favorable impact on our community’s youth and overall sense of well-being for the residents of King City.”

Slaten continued, “An award in this category of ‘Community Vitality’ truly epitomizes what we know our hometown is all about — caring community involvement.”

The judges also gave special acknowledgment to King City in Bloom’s signature windmill project at the entrance to San Lorenzo County Park on the west side of town. With the help of King City Rotary Club, the group installed a nearly 30-foot metal windmill and landscaping at the site earlier this year.

“It is especially gratifying that a special America in Bloom noteworthy acknowledgment was given to King City in Bloom for our signature windmill project at the western end of King City’s entrance,” Slaten said. “Many community hands contributed to the success of this vision, the King City in Bloom Windmill, symbolizing an iconic feature of our Southern Monterey County legacy.”

She said the group is also appreciative of the judges’ “resourceful remarks and helpful suggestions as we plan for the future to further beautify King City.”

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. More than 250 communities from 45 states have participated in the program to date.

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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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