America In Bloom officials visit Brewton
Published 6:57 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Two America In Bloom advisors criss-crossed through the Brewton community Monday and Tuesday marveling at the changes throughout the city.
Sue Amatangelo and Carlo Balistrieri represented the AIB organization taking in every aspect of the community to determine designations the city may earn following their visit.
“I was blown away,” Amatangelo said. “When we crossed the bridge from East Brewton into Brewton over that bridge, I was speechless. I got a warm, welcoming feeling that made me want to stop and stay a while in Brewton. There has been a phenomenal transformation since I was here in 2014.”
Balistrieri echoed those comments, saying Brewton obviously has a great team in place to make things happen.
“As beautiful as everything is here, the thing that I’m impressed with is the team of people working together to make a difference,” Balistrieri said. “That is the basis of what AIB is. It’s tearing down walls between groups to work together as a whole. There is definitely evidence of that here.”
The advisors, formerly referred to as judges for AIB, will be making stops in other communities on their nation-wide trek. The results of their work may be seen in more than awards for many of the communities they visit.
“I think what motivates local people that are working to contnue efforts and ramp up improvments are the awards,” Balistrieri said. “This instills such a level of pride in the way the community looks and feels. That is a big benefit of the AIB committee.”
Program Manager Connie Bagget is escorting the duo around the city pointing out some of the improvements and enhancements throughout the city.
“We know this is a value to us,” Baggett said. “Their visits and their report to us shows us things that we may not have thought about doing. We look at this as a consultant that comes to town to provide us with usuable information in planning going forward.”
Baggett said previous visits from AIB officials prompted some grant writing and some of the improvements in the city.
“After a previous visit, we took their report and decided on a few projects that are now visible in the city,” Baggett said. “We wrote a grant for $60,000 that allowed us to do some of the long boxes you see with plants around the city.”
Amatangelo said that just shows the value of having a visit from the AIB team.
“The evaluations we provide helps communities to look forward,” Amatangelo said. “It shows some things that can be done immediately, some a year and some five years down the road. These are tools to use to focus efforts and to look at applying for grants and get ready for the challenge.”
The advisors wrapped up their time in Brewton by visiting areas of interest including Alco Park, Union Cemetery, E.O. Wilson Nature Adventure, Jennings Park as well as businesses and industry leaders in the community.
To learn more about America In Bloom, visit their website at americainbloom.org. You’ll even find the city of Brewton as a featured city.