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Communities in Bloom committee looking for residents to show their civic pride

Last minute preparations for Communities in Bloom judges

ST. PAUL - Final preparations are underway to welcome national Communities in Bloom judges to St. Paul next week.  

St. Paul achieved the highest level possible at the Communities in Bloom provincial level in 2018 when it was awarded five blooms in a competition that challenges communities to continually develop and improve, especially in their efforts to promote environmental sustainability, enhance green spaces, and promote heritage conservation in its cultural and natural environments at the municipal, residential, commercial, and institutional levels. It is these same areas that national judges will be examining during their time here later this month. 

With a 225-item checklist in the provincial competition, St. Paul’s success in achieving the five-bloom level was a feather in the cap for the community in 2018. Now that it is competing at the national level the challenge is to ensure the judges see that St. Paul has continued to work to improve since its provincial win. 

Penny Fox of the local Communities in Bloom committee, a subcommittee of St. Paul’s Champions for Change, is hoping local residents and businesses will take this last week leading up to the judges’ arrival July 21 to lend a hand in ensuring the community is in tiptop shape. Simple things like picking up garbage along their streets can go a long way towards making a good impression. 

Judging will take place on Friday, July 22 and July 23. 

“They will be driving around town and looking at the overall appearance of the town, people’s yards, what we grow here and how it’s growing and anything that’s unique,” Fox said. “It is about volunteering, it is about tidiness, it is about environmental and historical. At the end of the day, we want to show that we are proud of our community, so it is things you can do to show you are proud of your community.” 

During their time in the community, the judges will be working their way through a check list of items, and evaluating the community based on how they think it scores on everything from green spaces to civic pride. 

Fox points out that the judges will provide invaluable information about what they see during their time here – the good points and the bad – and what the community can do to continually improve. And while there are some bragging rights that come from winning, it is also an opportunity to identify shortcomings. 

“They leave comments from the eyes of an outsider. They notice things that we don’t see because we are here every day,” Fox said. “It’s almost like a free consultation service basically.” 

Nationally, Communities in Bloom has proclaimed 2022 as the Year of the Garden. In conjunction with the Communities in Bloom national competition, the local committee organized a garden contest with the judging of those gardens to take place this week. The top three will then be included in the Communities in Bloom judges tour of St. Paul. 

“It takes a whole community to show that it’s proud and so we’re asking the whole community to do that,” Fox said of the significant role St. Paul citizens play in the days leading up to the actual judging. 

Clare Gauvreau

About the Author: Clare Gauvreau

Clare Gauvreau has worked for the St. Paul Journal for more than 20 years as a journalist, editor and publisher. In her role today as newspaper publisher she continues to contribute news and feature articles on a regular basis.
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