Gallipolis nets several America in Bloom awards

Amber Gillenwater

October 3, 2013

GALLIPOLIS — At this year’s America in Bloom symposium and awards program held September 19-21 in Orlando, Florida, the City of Gallipolis was again recognized for its participation in the program and took away numerous awards, including a special recognition for the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee President Bev Dunkle.

Following two days of judging in June, Gallipolis earned a three-bloom rating in the under 4,000 population category and an outstanding achievement award for its floral displays. Outstanding achievement awards only go to one participating town among all the America in Bloom entrants and across all population categories.

During Tuesday night’s regular Gallipolis City Commission meeting, Bev Dunkle was present to discuss these awards, as well as the other special honors given to Gallipolis this year.

“I want to thank the commission for all that you’ve done to support and to help sponsor the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee,” Dunkle said. “I do want to say that it’s not just me, it’s not just the committee, it’s everybody. It’s certainly you all. I felt that I had support from the city crew this year. … [and] I think that’s what we need is for everybody to have that passion.”

Dunkle also reported that Gallipolis received special recognition for their hanging baskets, and, due to their cumulative success since entering the program in 2006, Gallipolis has now entered the ranks of the “Circle of Champions,” a recognition given only to those entrants who have won three major awards. There are currently only 11 towns in the “circle of champions,” according to Dunkle.

America in Bloom participants are judged each year in six criteria: overall impression, environmental awareness, heritage, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays, and Gallipolis this year also received a special mention for the judges’ overall impression of the city, an honor that Dunkle was happy to report on.

“I was really pleased with [this]. We’ve had recognition for floral display, we’ve had recognition for heritage, but this is the first year we’ve ever had it for overall impression,” Dunkle said. “I was really pleased with that because I felt that that was a step up.”

Dunkle also was named as AIB’s 2013 Community Champion this year for her commitment to the program.

A news release issued by AIB early this week reads, “[Dunkle] is dedicated to the goals of improving the community — not only by the beautification of flowers, but also by encouraging the interaction of businesses and city government to include environmental improvements and implementation of new ideas to all sectors of the city.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Dunkle recounted the experience of winning and took the time to thank those who nominated her for this special award, Randy Finney, Sandee Saxon and Kim Canaday.

“When they called my name, I was so shocked, but I have to thank my nominating writers because they did a very good job promoting me,” Dunkle laughed.

This year’s AIB judges who visited Gallipolis were Alex Pearl and Dwight Lund who also visited other towns in Gallipolis’ population category, including Echo, Ore., Castle Rock, Wash., and Slippery Rock, Pa.. Both Pearl and Lund, according to Dunkle, spoke highly of their impression of Gallipolis this year.

“Our theme was ‘Gallipolis is a great place to grow,’ and that’s what the judges said their overall impression was that Gallipolis is a great place to grow, that we have a good community and a good working relationship with the chamber, with the CIC, with the Gallia County Commissioners,” she said. “I think we are showing people that we are good, and that we have a good thing here. Thank you so much for supporting us and for allowing us to go to Orlando and get these awards. We will try to do you proud.”

Dunkle also reported that, within Gallipolis’ category, there exists some stiff competition for next year’s program.

“We have tough competition in our population category, but we hope you will continue to support the Gallipolis in Bloom project,” Dunkle said. “We’ve got some room to grow too.”

Gallipolis City Commission President Jay Cremeens spoke on behalf of the commission, congratulating Dunkle and the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee on their continued dedication to improving the City of Gallipolis.

“We’re proud of you, Bev, and your recognition and the recognition of your committee,” Cremeens said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but we appreciate all that you guys do.”