MADISONVILLE, Ky. (6/4/16) - America in Bloom kicked off its sixth-year in Madisonville Thursday at Montpelier Park.

City Clerk Leslie Curneal started the event by recognizing committee chairs for all their hard work and dedication to the project.

America in Bloom is a nationwide beautification initiative featuring an annual competition among participating cities, said Curneal.

Each year judges tour the city looking at floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, historic preservation and community involvement.

“It’s about what the entire community has done,” said Curneal.

Community Improvement Foundation chairman Tim Thomas thanked all those who had put forth the effort to make sure the community and county continues to “blossom.”

“The community has worked hard to prepare and make sure the AIM project continues to grow and make our community proud,” said Thomas.

Mayor David Jackson declared June as America in Bloom Month.

“AIB is a non-profit organization that promotes nationwide beautification... and community involvement, ... promoting community pride ... and Madisonville is beginning its sixth year with the AIM program... and AIM strengthens pride for the community and increases the quality of living for its residents, businesses and guests...

“I urge all citizens to help to beautify the city and to continue to improve the quality of life – in this place we call home,” said Jackson.

Jackson said in 2011 Rick Welch of the Madisonville Messenger approached him about the experiences he had with the AIB initiatives while living in Indiana.

With Welch’s guidance, the city of Madisonville launched its own AIB program.
Welch was recognized for his vision and understanding of how “true transformation can take place in a community.”

“This has been a phenomenon that became infectious to all who have been involved,” said Jackson. “Volunteers get a real sense of community when they come together, and the benefits from AIB are tremendous, such as less crime, receipt of professional evaluations for future roadmaps and improvements and economic benefits like increased tourism and increased property values.”

Jackson recognized AIB community members involved over the past six years were recognized. They were thanked for their contributions, vision, donations and funding, for providing plants, education, inspiration, and pathways to community involvement, partnerships and for putting community first.

Jackson recognized Judge-Executive Donald Carroll.

“He is the best Judge-Executive in the Commonwealth and has encouraged and supported the AIB program,” said Jackson.

Community Improvement Foundation Board of Directors member Michelle Hill said board members are honored to be partnering with the AIB.

AIB 2A group of children sang “You Are My Sunshine” for the crowd.

“What better way to rejuvenate a community than with flowers and children,” said Hill.

America in Bloom Committee member and Downtown Turn Around chairwoman Jenny Gibson spoke about the Primrose Project.

She said she has been involved in several projects since her return to Madisonville eight-years ago.

“I am most excited about the primrose project,” said Gibson. “I truly believe it has the potential to positively change the community more than any single project.

While driving down South Main Street, she noticed happy flowers blooming, and had an epiphany.

“What would it look like if all the hard to maintain grassy areas in the community were planted with these flowers,” said Gibson.

The idea was born and now average city streets have become beautiful focal points, she said.

Gibson said her favorite comment about the project is: “I turned onto Arch Street and was instantly happy.”

“This project is a wonderful beautification project, wonderful for our property values, provides us with a great sense of community and also is potentially an opportunity to provide our children with years to come,” said Gibson.

The AIB judges will arrive in Madisonville on Sunday evening and will tour the city on Monday and Tuesday.

Tammy Holloway
SurfKY News Reporter
SurfKY News Photos/Tammy Holloway

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