America in Bloom: Council to fund
competition entry fee for second year

March 13, 2015
Santa Paula News

American in Bloom “Did the best we could to show them the best we had in Santa Paula,” and Dianne Davis told the City Council the local chapter will do even better for the 2015 competition.

Floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts and preservation of heritage and the overall impression of Santa Paula rated by independent judges brought Santa Paula a four flower rating for its first outing in the national competition.

The local AIB garnered 82 percent overall according to Davis, who with her husband Dudley founded the local chapter in 2010. The local AIB chapter the Davis’ spearheaded came after their own successful efforts to beautify Main Street with hanging flower baskets and sidewalk planters. 

Davis told the council at the March 2 meeting that in spite of a windstorm that knocked the blooms off flowers just a week before the judges arrived for several days of tours and judging, the flowers came back.

“We really painted the town with flowers,” including in conjunction with the Downtown Merchants Association that helped with plantings and made sure all Main Street business owners spruced up their storefronts. 

The judges had several recommendations for Santa Paula including extending the concrete planters — purchased by AIB and the Rotary Club — onto 10th Street as well as using drought friendly plants.

“One thing they were concerned about was the condition of the alleys behind Main Street,” and encouraged repaving as well as murals to dress up where people are encouraged to park.

Among other recommendations was to launch a program to encourage residents to remove lawns for drought tolerant landscapes.

The judges “Were very impressed with the Santa Paula tree policy,” that requires a permit for removal and distressed to see trees on the bike trail and at the Oil Museum are showing “drought stress … ”

More murals to add to the already famed inventory as well as a walking map app for visitors and creating post cards of the murals to raise the funds for additional public artwork was also recommended.

The city should also enforce codes in areas where blight is worsening and keep sidewalks clean in the downtown.

Davis encouraged the council to attend the next annual AIB conference where Santa Paula AIB received three awards, recognition for its environmental efforts, special mention for the Farmworkers Monument and an award for Davis, honored as a Community Champion for leading the beautification effort.

The Davis’ said City Councilwoman Ginger Gherardi, “Have done a tremendous amount of work in this city … what you’ve done with the baskets and planters — I can’t thank you enough,” for the beautification efforts appreciated by the full council.

The Davis’ own Do Right Plant Nursery and the AIB team has tackled numerous projects with an emphasis on beautifying city gateway areas.

After Davis’ presentation the council again approved funding the $1,099 entry fee so Santa Paula can compete in the 2015 America in Bloom national competition.

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