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Jill Davis, co-chair of the Beautify Decatur Coalition, announces that Decatur will enter the national America in Bloom competition in this September file photo. Davis is among those who traveled to Kentucky to find out the results this weekend. 

DECATUR — Leaders of the local America in Bloom beautification effort are ready to find out in the coming days if the community's hard work resulted in recognition from the national awards program. 

Decatur representatives traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, for a three-day America in Bloom symposium that will include announcement of results for participating communities. This is Decatur's first year to enter. 

"The community really stepped up to keep Decatur as clean and spruced up as possible for the judges," said Jill Davis, co-chair of the Beautify Decatur Coalition. "People around town are excited to hear the results."

Volunteers, local governments, businesses and community groups worked together for months to prepare for the evaluation on July 19 and 20. Judges Mary Hertel and Kristin Pategas gave positive feedback after viewing historical areas of the city as well as businesses, gardens and volunteer projects, but the final results are not revealed until this weekend's event. 

The symposium kicked off Thursday night with a dinner to celebrate the participating communities. It will end with an awards banquet on Saturday.

Along with Davis, others who traveled to Kentucky were:

  • Susan Avery, Beautify Decatur Coalition Co-Chair
  • Ellen Hearn, Decatur America In Bloom Committee Chair
  • Verneil Phillips, Grounds Manager, Millikin University
  • Bill Clevenger, Executive Director, Decatur Park District
  • Lisa Gregory, Decatur City Councilwoman 

The weekend will be filled with tours, dinners, speakers and panel discussions. “There will be a lot of sharing going on,” said Davis.

The group from Decatur will be meeting with their judges to discuss the score and what they need to do in going forward with future competitions.

Another highlight during the weekend will be Decatur's contribution to the symposium. Hearn has been invited to speak during the event on Decatur's volunteerism. 

Decatur, with a population of 72,000, is competing against communities in the population category of 25,000 to 75,000. Other cities in the same category include Athens, Ohio, Mansfield, Ohio, and West Chicago, which is also new to the competition.

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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