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AIB coming back here

Judges from the national awards program America in Bloom (AIB) will be in Brewton from June 12 to June 14. AIB assesses cities nationwide based on seven categories: flowers, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, celebrating heritage, community vitality and overall impression.
The cities compete against each other in each category regardless of population, but each city is also judged against cities in its population category for best score.
AIB sends a team of two specially trained judges to tour the city for two days, and typically the same two judges visit each town in a population category. The judges then provide a detailed written evaluation of the city, which are emailed to all entrants on the Monday after the awards.
City of Brewton Director of Program Management Connie Baggett said she is focusing on increasing Brewton’s scores in the environmental efforts and celebrating heritage categories because they were the city’s lower scoring areas.
To improve the environmental score, Baggett said they also are planning to begin a rain barrel project in the next few weeks. Rain barrels help with flooding, reduce the regional combined sewer overflow problem and supplies a water source for plants.
AIB said some of the benefits for participating in this program is the increased civic pride, economic benefits and decreased vandalism and crime in the participating cities. Baggett said another benefit is the detailed evaluation. The evaluation doubles as a road map for future projects and improvements. Baggett said if they were to hire a consultant to do that for the city, it would cost $30,000 minimum.
“For the past five years we’ve been involved, we have made Brewton better every year with their advice,” Baggett said. “It helps us make Brewton a better city and a happier place to live.”