Rockford gets four-bloom rating from America in Bloom

• City also recognized for historic preservation

Staff Report

Rockford received a four-bloom rating and a special mention for its efforts in historic preservation in the prestigious America in Bloom national awards program. The honors were announced Oct. 4 in Philadelphia.

Two specially-trained America in Bloom judges — Evelyn Alemanni and Stephen Pategas — visited towns of similar populations to Rockford and spent two days touring each town, meeting municipal officials, residents and volunteers. Rockford competed against other cities with populations of more than 50,000, including Fayetteville, Arkansas; Lexington, Kentucky; and Greater Racine, Wisconsin.

Criteria included overall impression, environmental awareness, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas and floral displays. Communities were also judged based on community involvement across municipal, residential and commercial sectors.

America in Bloom is the only national awards program that sends specially-trained judges to personally visit participants and provide a detailed written evaluation that can be used as a guide to future improvements.

Judges said of Rockford: “Rockford is a city with a bent towards historic preservation with residents, philanthropic groups and an historic preservation commission that has supported restoration, the creation of districts and reuse of structures. This great history includes restoration — Coronado Theatre and Morgan Street Bridge — and adaptive reuse projects in progress — Prairie Street Brew House and Lantow Lofts — and two exciting ones on the cusp — a sports complex and downtown hotel. Multiple residential historic districts and numerous historic associations guard the area’s heritage.”

America in Bloom is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancement. Learn more at www.americainbloom.org.

From the Oct. 8-14, 2014, issue

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