Judges with the national America In Bloom program were impressed with the city, said Washington In Bloom Co-chairs Sally Bocklage and Dave Wehmeyer.
A team visited Monday and Tuesday to evaluate the city on its floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. The judges also look at community involvement in all sectors.
Judges were Jack Clasen, Raleigh, N.C., and Leslie Pittenger, Belpre, Ohio.
“They were energetic and eager to explore our lovely city in spite of the extreme heat,” Bocklage said. “We fully intended to give them a warm welcome, but we did not mean the temperature.”
Bocklage said comments throughout the two days were positive, especially in terms of the city’s cleanliness.
“It was a perfect team of judges and we were so honored to share this time with them,” she said.
One judge, Pittenger, also judged the city in 2014. Wehmeyer said she was pleased with improvements that have been made since her last visit.
“Leslie was very impressed with the improvements downtown, (including) native plantings at Phoenix Park and the medians,” he said. For a small town, she also was impressed with the historical society museum and the number of parks.
This year, the itinerary included visits at First and Third parkways, Crestview Water Tower Park, Phoenix Park, Krog Park, the Mercy Hospital garden, Kohmueller House, Angel of Hope Garden, All-Abilities Playground and gazebo.
The judges also visited the recycling center and monarch butterfly gardens at Rawlings, as well as city hall, the library and public safety buildings, historic Downtown Washington, the Washington Historical Society Museum, Miller-Post Nature Reserve and the Railroad Heritage Park on the riverfront.
Bocklage thanked those who spoke at tours, provided beverages or a place to seek refuge from the heat during tours. She also thanked city officials and community members for helping beautify the city and make it a better place to live, work and play.
The official evaluation and winners of the contest will be announced in early October at a symposium in Arroyo Grande, Calif.