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'Huntington in Bloom' forum set for Monday

Apr. 13, 2013 @ 11:43 PM

HUNTINGTON -- With a citywide spring cleanup in full swing, city officials and community volunteers are planning the next phase of beautifying Huntington, with a key community forum taking place Monday.

The next initiative is Huntington's participation in the America in Bloom competition this summer. A forum to explain it to the community and seek volunteers will be at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

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

Huntington is among four cities in the 30,000-50,000 category in this year's competition. Others are Winter Garden, Fla., Holland, Mich., and DeKalb, Ill.

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, who will visit Huntington July 11-12. They will evaluate 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 group has been working on each of the criteria the past few months and will make presentations during Monday's forum. Residents who attend the forum can volunteer to help with the initiative in which they are most interested.

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

For more information, visit www.huntingtoninbloom.org, check out the Huntington in Bloom Facebook page, or call City Hall at 304-696-5540.

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