With just days until the National America In Bloom (AIB) judges tour Washington, the countdown is on for the visit.

Judges Jack Clasen, Raleigh, N.C., and Leslie Pittenger, Belpre, Ohio, will visit July 18-19 for the contest, which promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement.

“They both bring exemplary skill sets to our community. What a privilege to have them peer through our parks, drive our highways and byways, tour established subdivisions, as well as newer construction, assess the maintenance of historic structures, join us for a walking tour of downtown, dine in our restaurants, visit the Washington Historical Society Museum, tour the recycling center and so much more,” said Sally Bocklage, Washington In Bloom co-chair.

“They will see firsthand the many projects which add to the beautification of our city and overall impression for residents and visitors,” she said.

This will be Washington’s sixth year in the contest. Pittenger judged Washington two years ago, noted Bocklage, adding that it will be interesting to see what she thinks about what the city has accomplished since her last visit.

Judges will evaluate the city on its floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. Community involvement also is judged in all sectors.

“Our agenda for the two days of touring is varied and interesting,” Bocklage said. “We just know they’ll find great things each step of the way.”

Bocklage thanked residents who have helped beautify the city on “Weeding Wednesdays,” as well as those who work on projects on a regular basis.

Others can help make the city successful by pulling weeds at curbs in front of their property, keeping their lawn mowed and checking for an overall neat appearance.

“We want that Washington civic pride to be something the judges notice right away,” she said.

In 2014, Washington was named to the prestigious America In Bloom (AIB) “Circle of Champions” and will compete against other cities in the country which have achieved the honor.

The Circle of Champions designation honors the achievement of communities that have won a combination of three population category and/or criteria awards over the years.

Washington’s competitors include Echo, Ore., Gallipolis, Ohio, Greendale, Ind., Estes Park, Colo., Arroyo Grande, Calif., Holland, Mich., and Fairhope, Ala.

Itinerary

This year, the itinerary includes 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 will visit the recycling center and check out Monarch butterfly gardens July 18.

The following day, judges will visit city hall, the library and public safety buildings, take a walking tour of historic Downtown Washington, visit the Washington Historical Society Museum, Miller-Post Nature Reserve and the Railroad Heritage Park on the riverfront.

Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy will host lunch for the judges. Tessie and John Steffens will host breakfast for the judges and other guests.

Profile Book

People may read the Washington In Bloom Community Profile Book, which is a mandatory part of participation in the program each year. The update has been electronically transmitted to America In Bloom Headquarters in Ohio.

It also is on the city website, www.ci.washington.mo.us under the America In Bloom/Washington In Bloom tab.

Also online are entry forms for the Washington In Bloom Yard of the Month contest.