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West Main Street cleanup 12 4.6.18.jpg

In this April 6 file photo, volunteers clean up islands along West Main Street as part of the local preparations for the America In Bloom competition.

When Decatur bands together, the turnout is impressive. Supporting a common goal is one of the hallmarks of our community.

That was the case earlier this summer with America in Bloom, a contest to recognize places that have undertaken beautification efforts. 

Decatur is vying for several titles awarded by judges who visited in July. 

More than 240 communities in 41 states have taken part in America in Bloom since the Columbus, Ohio-based group was founded in 2001 — from Catskill, New York, to Ottawa, Illinois, to Saratoga, California, to Winter Park, Florida. All unique places spread across our nation.

What they have in common, and what Decatur shares with them, is a community spirit. 

Before the big visit, droves of volunteers spearheaded by the endlessly energetic Beautify Decatur Coalition planted and pruned across the city. They picked up litter. They pulled out weeds. They weathered sun to get the job done. 

They made Decatur shine, and as if on cue, the weather was sunny and clear for the judging. The tour included Rock Springs Nature Center, the magnificent Transfer House and the downtown area. It was impressive.

But the hard work organizing and executing was about more than just begonias and pea gravel. It was about seeing opportunities and finding common ground. It was about the place we work and call home. 

That's why we hope the momentum from the America in Bloom project continues well past when we find out what we were awarded.

Decatur businesses, groups and residents came together for a common mission. 

We should do it more often. Just think of what we could solve together.

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