By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
America in Bloom wants you to help Santa Paula be recognized for the beautiful and unique community it is by helping the city win national recognition.
Those interested in volunteering in the effort are asked to attend a meeting Tuesday, January 28 at 5 p.m. at Do Right’s Plant Growers, 14545 W. Telegraph Road (near Briggs Road).
America in Bloom Santa Paula Chapter Founder Dianne Davis and her husband Dudley Davis own the famed nursery where the meeting will be held.
In recent weeks the City Council approved AIB’s request to fund the approximately $1,100 entrance fee for the competition which will have cities of similar sizes vying for prize selection. The competition also includes a site visit by a judging team.
According to Cathy Sorenson of AIB, cities will compete in six categories, floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression.
“We’ve gathered all information we could about the city in each category and know that the Tuesday meeting will probably bring out some forgotten areas,” said Sorenson.
“Essentially, AIB will coordinate the paperwork and the judges’ visit, but the myriad of volunteerism and community activities will be the focus...not just AIB.”
Sorenson said the competition will be a community effort: “We need everyone to bring your expertise and help brainstorm the categories.
“We know that our city can definitely win in all six categories if we all get together and highlight all the volunteerism, programs, clubs, activities and events that our citizens and businesses support.”
Santa Paula already has the edge over many other communities by being an officially designated Preserve America Community, a title garnered in 2009 that reflects the large number of historical community treasures - about 15 - that are listed on local, state and federal levels, the most such historical sites in the county.
When Dianne Davis appeared before the City Council she also noted the city’s famed Murals of Santa Paula, an aspect of Santa Paula that should definitely impress judges.
Davis said in a later interview that Kent, Ohio, Wake Forest, North Carolina, West Chicago, Illinois, Winter Park, Florida, and Holland, Michigan are cities that have competed before that mirror Santa Paula’s population.
In addition, AIB also has a YouTube video competition.
Although cities can garner honors in each of the six categories judged, Davis said, “Overall Impression wraps it all together... and we need the community to come together to organize this effort,” that is more than just pretty flowers.
“What we do with AIB is just a portion of how the competition is evaluated and judged. We need the community to come together to see the whole list of what is needed and how they can help to meet the criteria,” of each judging category as well as offer their input on what should be utilized.
Limoneira’s own solar orchard, Murals of Santa Paula and the city’s history and architecture as well as the creation of the Bike Path and AIB and others’ efforts in landscaping and beautification of the city could each fit into AIB categories.
And cataloging such assets as well as suggesting others is going to take a group effort that Davis hopes will draw members of the Santa Paula Historical Society, the Santa Paula Art Society, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Merchants, service clubs and organizations, schools, churches and others who have a stake in Santa Paula.
Davis noted that teams will be formed to concentrate on each of the judged categories so people can apply their expertise or interest specifically to what they feel they would be best at.
Davis and Sorenson are hoping people will attend Tuesday’s meeting and become involve in the effort to garner national AIB recognition for Santa Paula.
“Please join us and make sure your passion is included in the highlights and tours that the judges will be given. Together,” Sorenson noted, “we can wow the judges.”
For more information, call Davis at 805-407-4696.
Visit the AIB website at http://www.santapaulainbloom.com