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Huntington in Bloom forum set for April 15

Apr. 01, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

HUNTINGTON -- With a citywide spring cleanup launching this week, city officials are planning the next phase of beautifying Huntington.

Residents are invited to a community forum at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena to learn more about the city's participation in the national "America in Bloom" competition this summer. There also will be an opportunity during the meeting for residents to volunteer for different initiatives.

The local effort, called Huntington in Bloom, will give the city national recognition and exposure, said Tom Bell, executive director of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority. It also will unite neighbors to clean up their area and give the city valuable feedback from professionally-trained judges, he said.

America in Bloom is a nonprofit organization formed in 2001 that promotes beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

The organization offers a national awards program that provides a framework for improving quality of life and includes on-site coaching by a team of expert judges.

Huntington is among four cities in the 30,000-50,000 category that have signed up for this year's competition. The others are Winter Garden, Fla., Holland, Mich., and DeKalb, Ill.

When the America in Bloom judges come to Huntington July 11-12, they will evaluate the city using six criteria: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. Each of the criteria is further evaluated on municipal, residential, commercial and community involvement.

A core group of individuals has been working on each of these six initiatives for the past few months and will make presentations during the community forum. Residents who attend the forum can then volunteer to help with the initiative in which they are most interested.

The Huntington in Bloom committee has chosen "Growing Pride" as its theme and will focus on patriotic displays using American flags and red, white and blue flowers. The effort will focus on the downtown but it will also include Marshall University's campus, residential neighborhoods, parks and historic buildings.

For more information about Huntington in Bloom, visit www.huntingtoninbloom.org or check out the group's Facebook page.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.