Town awarded four ‘blooms’

It looks like a lot of hard work paid off for local volunteers as Fort Frances was awarded four “blooms,” and also received a mention for floral displays, from the provincial “Communities in Bloom” judges who were here this past summer.
Helen Crook, chair of the local “Communities in Bloom” committee, delivered the good news to town council Monday night. She also presented a framed certificate recognizing this achievement to Mayor Dan Onichuk.
Crook noted the bloom rating was the result of countless hours by numerous local organizations working together to make the town beautiful, including town employees themselves.
“The Parks Board has obviously done an exceptional job and should be commended,” she said. “As well, they recently installed the bed of tulips commemorating the liberation of Holland swiftly and exactly as one would have wished.
“However, no one is perfect. There was a suggestion regarding tree pruning. If we manage to bring in a workshop on pruning, I hope they can attend,” Crook smiled.
The bloom rating was based on the expertise of Gail Reed and Marg Legris, who spent two days in August here touring everywhere from the waterfront to the cemeteries to the industrial park.
“Judging is an integral part of the assessment of our town and I would like to acquaint you with the process,” Crook told council. “Two judges arrive from out of town, ready to devote two days to examining and judging various aspects of urban attractiveness.”
There are eight criteria the judges consider when grading municipalities: floral displays, turf and groundcover areas, landscaping, heritage preservation, tidiness effort, environmental awareness, urban forestry, and community involvement.
Each area of evaluation is marked out of a score of 125 points.
“Our current desire is to raise all these scores to over 100,” noted Crook, adding the two judges have given the local group input on the town’s merits and their potential—and what areas to improve on.
Crook stressed the local “Communities in Bloom” committee will continue to work hard, and strive to improve that rating by one more bloom next year so as to qualify for the next level of competition.
“We believe the efforts of our volunteers in countless organizations make our town a superior one and wish to continue our efforts,” she remarked.
“The committee feels that a highly-rated town as seen by [the] ‘Communities in Bloom’ provincial body can be used to entice people and businesses to come here and settle,” Crook added.
This is the first year Fort Frances officially competed in “Communities in Bloom.”
In August, 2004, two judges—Lee Rozon and Angela Vieth—spent two days visiting various sites around the community on a preliminary basis and ended up giving the town “a very good evaluation,” said Crook.
Some of the projects the local “Communities in Bloom” committee has done in the past year include:
•a yard makeover contest (which was won by Carrie Holden of 412 Third St. W.);
•being involved in a project with the Robert Moore School Builders’ Club and local teachers to build a garden in front of the Rainy River District School Board office;
•a garden contest;
•planting the aforementioned tulip garden across from the Legion; and
•promoting beautification among residents and the business community.
Crook said anyone who would like to attend a “Communities in Bloom” meeting should come to the Civic Centre on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
“Thank you so much for time and effort,” said Coun. Tannis Drysdale.