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Huntington citizens encouraged to help make our area 'bloom'

Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

With spring upon us, Huntington is in bloom ... in more ways than one! Beautiful trees, flowers and vegetation have started to blossom all around us, and there's no better time for everyone in the community to get busy beautifying their own space! Through Create Huntington, citizens are encouraged to work toward making a positive impact on their community. Part of this includes working to beautify the area through activities such as community gardens, graffiti removal projects, and sprucing up their own personal space.

In the past few weeks you may have heard about the new "Huntington In Bloom" project. This exciting project includes not only Create Huntington members and businesses but everyone in our community. Literally, from the smallest child to our most senior citizens, there is something everyone can to do participate in this national program.

For the first time ever, Huntington will be participating in the "America in Bloom" competition which will take place this summer. Through "America in Bloom," we are striving to:

Improve the quality of life in Huntington.

Promote community involvement and unity.

Identify opportunities for improvement.

Preserve Huntington's rich heritage by embracing its culture.

"America in Bloom" promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements. In July, judges will come to Huntington and judge our efforts in the areas of: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. They will visit local attractions such as Heritage Station, Ritter Park and Harris Riverfront Park, as well as driving through neighborhoods and downtown business communities. This is a great way to enhance the efforts that so many of our dedicated citizens have already been working on for many years.

These efforts also fall in line with the mayor's new cleanup campaign encouraging citizens to clean up their personal property. Ordinances that prohibit tall weeds and grass, litter and household items that belong indoors but are being stored on porches or in front yards will be put into effect after July 1. In the mean time, all areas are being given an opportunity to dispose of any and all trash and bulky items that will be picked up by city workers.

You may be asking yourself "What does this have to do with me?". In a word... everything! Improving the space around us has many long-lasting effects on the community including tourism, economic development and overall quality of life. You may have recently read that West Virginia was named the saddest state in the country. How sad. But what can make us happy? A local food market, blossoming flowers and trees, gorgeous parks and outdoor spaces, litter-free streets, graffiti-free walls, successful recycling programs... and so much more! So don't be sad, Huntington. We can do this! Visit the website at www.huntingtoninbloom.org or the Facebook page at facebook.com/HuntingtonInBloom to find out how you can participate. There are so many ways you can help, so get out there and help us show the country our growing pride!

Cara Hedrick is marketing director at the Cabell-Huntington CVB and a Create Huntington volunteer.