The judges will be in town Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25. The criteria upon which the city will be judged will include floral displays, environmental awareness, landscaped areas, tidiness, urban forestry, heritage preservation, turf and groundcovers and community involvement.
According to Jerrie Howard, Point Pleasant in Bloom president, the judges will use those categories to judge three areas including municipal, residential and commercial. Last year, Point Pleasant in Bloom was awarded special mention in the heritage preservation category during the Seventh Annual America in Bloom Awards Gala.
In their second year, the group hopes to top last year’s performance. Although the economy has created some difficulties with this year’s competition, Howard said the community has been very supportive, and that there has been more participation from both residents and businesses this year.
“I think the community is seeing what’s happening, and they’re getting on the bandwagon,” she said. “I think we’ve done well in all areas and I think we should do particularly well in historic preservation, thanks to Main Street and the tourism center.”
In addition, Howard believes Point Pleasant in Bloom should receive high marks in community involvement.
For final preparations, Point Pleasant in Bloom members are busy touching things up and asking the city to spruce up the streets to make sure everything looks neat and tidy for the judging. Howard also encouraged residents to make sure their lawns are in good shape by mowing, trimming and feeding their plants. In addition, she encouraged residents who have not yet done so to plant purple, red and yellow flowers in their yards, which are this year’s Point Pleasant in Bloom colors.
Projects recently completed by Point Pleasant in Bloom in preparation for the judges’ arrival including recycling bins that have been placed at various locations in town to collect residents’ paper and cardboard. Other recently completed projects include the planting of shrubbery in front of the Mason County Public Library as well as updates at Fort Randolph.
This year’s America in Bloom judges are Darlene Blake and Edward Rhinehart. Blake is a life-long gardener, community activist, internationally recognized public speaker and world traveler. She splits her time between her homes in Des Moines, Iowa and Athens, Greece, which enables her to garden year-round.
Rhinehart is a retired business man who has been a touring judge for America in Bloom for three years. He first learned about America in Bloom when he resided in the city of Vermilion, Ohio, and decided to participate in the program. He became and active member of the Vermilion in Bloom committee and was instrumental in “flowering” the downtown.
For several years, Rhinehart wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper entitled “Hey Gardeners.” He has continued his interest in writing by contributing to the America in Bloom newsletter.
According to Howard, when Blake and Rhinehart arrive for judging they will have a full schedule. On Wednesday, judges will have breakfast at the historic Lowe Hotel, followed by a visit to the tourism center. From there, they will tour the Mason County Public Library, sewage plant and the Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and manor house.
Judges will then have lunch sponsored by the Tu-Endie-Wei Garden Club at the Point Pleasant Riverfront Park. From there they will tour the floodwall murals at riverfront park, Gunn Park, the Mothman Museum, Gallery at 409, the Silver Bridge Memorial, and will view the new family court room in the Mason County Courthouse.
Wrapping up the day will be a visit to the water plant and the Mason County Solid Waste facility. A reception at the Point Pleasant River Museum will close out the day.
On Thursday, judges will have breakfast a the firehouse, and then will tour several residential neighborhoods. They also will visit the Pleasant Valley Wellness Center, Krodel Park and Fort Randolph. The day will wrap with a dinner with Point Pleasant in Bloom members at Gloria’s Lighthouse.
Howard described this year’s Point Pleasant in Bloom participation as being good no matter how the city does in judging.
“This is a win-win situation. Whether we win with the judges or not, I see improvement in the community,” she said.