Messenger photos by John Matuszak
Jeffrey Mansion, above, and the Governor’s Residence will be focal points when judges from the America in Bloom competition visit the community July 9.
Bexley’s America in Bloom committee has extended the deadline for applying for its first beautification award to June 25, and is encouraging all residents to spruce up their homes and neighborhoods when national judges arrive in July.
As of May 30, the committee had received six applications for the local award, chairman Mark Moore, the city’s grounds and maintenance supervisor, announced.
The previous deadline had been June 15. All homeowners, businesses and schools are invited to participate in the flower competition, with the color scheme "Primary Colors."
Two homeowner winners will be named for each section of town, north, central and south Bexley, and an overall winner will be chosen for the entire city.
Awards for first through fourth place will be selected among businesses, and one school will receive an award.
Applications are available at City Hall and on the city’s Web site, www.bexley.org.
The contest is being held in conjunction with the national America in Bloom competition, which Bexley is participating in. The convention and awards ceremony is being held in Columbus, where the organization was founded in 2001, Oct. 2-4.
It started as a floral competition "but it ends up being a community pride program" that encourages civic improvements, Moore said.
The America in Bloom judges will be in Bexley July 9-10 and will tour the community, evaluating it by eight criteria: floral displays, tidiness, environmental awareness, urban forestry, turf and groundscover, landscaping, community activity and heritage preservation.
Moore and Bruce Langner, Bexley’s director of economic development, will conduct the tours and make sure the judges see such Bexley landmarks as Jeffrey Mansion and the Governor’s Residence, as well as some private homes.
"I don’t think we’ll have trouble keeping them busy," Moore said.
The judges like to have one of their communities win in at least one category, Moore told his committee. He thinks Bexley is strongest in floral displays and urban forestry, with its large trees.
Moore has also been impressed with the amount of work done by volunteers, much of it without a lot of recognition.
"I’ve been here 25 years, and in the last four months I have learned more about what this community does," Moore said. "They don’t advertise, they just go out and do it."
This includes a group of realtors who take on neighborhood clean-ups, and the Rotary Club, which sponsors clean-ups for times a year.
Moore agreed that it would be a good idea for residents to make an extra effort to tidy up their neighborhoods before the judges arrive.
Committee members also suggested that Fourth of July decorations, such as flags and red, white and blue bunting could be left up for another week to give homes an added splash of color.
Bexley’s America in Bloom committee is doing its part to provide lasting improvements. They are working with Main Street businesses to add decorative planters. The city has agreed to provide the planters, which range in cost from $56 to $225, and to do the planting, if the business will maintain the flowers, with will come from Bexley in Bloom. They are also seeking support from the Chamber of Commerce.
The America in Bloom Symposium and Awards Program will include educational sessions on community beautification, and tours of attractions such as Franklin Park Conservatory, Topiary Garden, German Village and the Lazarus building, which has been converted into one of the nation’s leading "green" office spaces.
Information is at www.americainbloom.org.