03/31/11 The Public Relations/Tourism committee of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce ran a survey among its members last year and the number one thing on the minds of those returning the survey was to make the community more inviting to visitors and newcomers.
With no budget, the group decided to investigate the America in Bloom program whose by-line is Planting Pride in Our Communities. and see how it benefited other communities. The largest city involved in the program is Chicago and the smallest is our neighbor Shipshewana.
Communities that have participated in America in Bloom have experienced an increase in civic pride and community involvement. There has been a heightened cooperation among municipal government, organizations, business and private citizens…everyone works toward a common goal: a better place to live in, work in and visit. They have noticed increased economic development and a positive impact on the retail industry, seen increased property values, increased tourism and a positive impact on hospitality industry. Communities have also experienced a decrease in vandalism while also seeing successful results from a fun and rewarding project.
The American in Bloom program works with a group that decides it wants to improve the looks of its community and registers to participate. That group pays a registration fee according to population size with the fee for Plymouth being $999.00. A group is already in the process of raising the necessary funds. The next step would be to establish an effective working committee and seek to involve the entire community.
The Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is in the process of forming their America in Bloom Committee. They are now at the point to start developing their organizing committee and are ask local citizens, members of municipal government, parks department, Main Street Association, Redevelopment Commission, School Administration, Civic organizations, retail people, Industrial Association, Master Gardeners and our greenhouses and nurseries to be part of the organization committee. We will also seek help from Purdue Cooperative Extension service and local environmental people.
The program will be divided into different areas. 1.) Municipal: including governmental facilities, parks, public properties, schools, institutions and churches. 2.) Commercial: includes downtown, shopping centers, office buildings, industrial sites, manufacturing and other commercial establishments and 3.) Residential: includes residents of all kinds, efforts of service groups and societies.
After the initial meeting, the groups will start functioning and preparing for the initial visit from the American in Bloom judges, who will point out what can be done to improve the community and best way methods.
To be part of this new initiative, stop by the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce office and inform them of your willingness.