ST. CHARLES – St. Charles has received top honors in the 2018 America in Bloom national awards program.
Awards were announced at the annual symposium and awards celebration held Sept. 29 in Lexington, Ky. St. Charles was the winner of the Circle of Champions – Venti population category. Other communities in the Circle of Champions - Venti population category were Ottawa along with Calabasas, Calif. and Madisonville, Ky.
America in Bloom is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements. The Circle of Champions designation honors the achievement of communities that have won a combination of three population and/or criteria awards over the years.
St. Charles received a 9-star rating out of a possible 10 stars and received special recognition for its community vitality. All participants were evaluated on seven criteria: overall impression, community vitality, environmental efforts, heritage celebration, urban forestry, landscaped areas, and flowers.
In addition, they were judged on their community involvement across municipal, residential, and commercial sectors.
"America in Bloom is helping towns and cities of all sizes achieve their potential," America in Bloom executive director Laura Kunkle said in a news release. "Every year our participants raise the bar, and the accomplishments and progress shown by this year's group is again remarkable. These are, without a doubt, some of the best places to live in America.”
America in Bloom is the only national awards program that sends specially trained judges to personally visit participants. In addition, each participant receives a detailed written evaluation that can be used as a guide to future improvements.
To date, more than 250 communities from 45 states have participated in the program and more than 22 million people have been touched by it. Eligible participants include towns, cities, college and university campuses, business districts, military installations and recognized neighborhoods of large cities.