AIB 2019 Use

After the Washington in Bloom committee spent months of preparing, the results of the America in Bloom National Awards have been announced.

The city of Washington earned eight of 10 stars this year and was the winner of the 12,000-14,000 population category.

Washington also received special recognition for its flowers.

“Great job at keeping Washington beautiful,” Mayor Sandy Lucy said to a crowd gathered near city hall Monday.

Washington also was one of the top three of 43 communities up for the heritage preservation award.

“I’m thrilled to see us get that recognition even if we didn’t win because we do a really great job of that,” said Carolyn Witt, Downtown Washington Inc.

The national symposium was held Saturday, Oct. 5, in St. Charles, Ill. This year, Sally Bocklage, WIB co-chair; Lucy; Wayne Dunker, parks director; Josh Wargo, arborist/horticulturist; Dave Wehmeyer, WIB co-chair; John Steffens, member; and Witt all attended the symposium.

Before adjourning, Lucy presented a video to officially welcome AIB communities to Washington for next year’s symposium. That video is expected to be up on the city’s website later this week.

“Our wheels are turning for next year,” said Lucy. “People from all over are excited to come to Washington next year.”

Prior to this symposium, members of the Washington Garden Club, P.E.O Chapter CD, Franklin County Master Gardeners and P.E.O Chapter LV blanket stitched cutouts of the state of Missouri to be used for invitations to the 2020 symposium in Washington.

The cutouts had corn cob pipes sewn onto them. The pipes were donated by Missouri Meerschaum Company in Washington.

Those invitations were placed at each seat during Saturday night’s award ceremony. Lucy said people were amazed when they saw the cutouts.

Wehmeyer noted that many of the AIB communities have larger budgets.

“What we do for the money we have is amazing,” he said.

“This community is powered by volunteers,” said Lucy. “We thank you.”

The WIB committee received the formal evaluation from the judges Monday morning. 

After a quick look over the evaluation, Bocklage said the city’s environmental effort is not among the highest of their scores.

“If you all can be ambassadors to encourage restaurants to not use Styrofoam it would save the environment so much,” she said.

Communities are evaluated on heritage, environmental effort, community vitality, urban forestry, floral display, landscape display and overall impression.

The judges who visited in July, Jack Clasen and Bruce Riggs, had previously visited before as AIB judges.

This year was the 18th annual AIB National Symposium and Awards Ceremony. In addition to the awards ceremony, the representatives from Washington attended speaker sessions, tours of the host city and were able to see what the host city committee did before the attendees arrived.

More than 260 communities from 43 states have participated in the program. Washington has been a participant since 2011.

“Aren’t we lucky we chose Washington to be our home?” said Bocklage.