LOGAN — Driving through Downtown Logan, it’s hard to miss the pink hue that illuminates the sidewalks and Worthington Park. Now it’s time for Logan to be judged on the amount of work volunteers and others have put into beautifying Logan.
America In Bloom (AIB) judges will be in Logan visiting on Thursday, July 18 and July 19, with an open house at the new Homegrown on Main location (65 West Main Street) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The open house is to allow the public to meet and extend their welcome to the AIB judges.
America in Bloom judges are experienced volunteers from all over the United States. They are trained to go into communities to provide evaluations of strengths and weaknesses. After providing an evaluation, they will also continue working with the communities as mentors, if desired.
“We visit the schools, the hospital, the Willow Pond, the Hocking County Historical Society, Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District, HAPCAP (Hocking Athens Perry Community Action) — we try to cover about 60 percent of the streets in town so we drive around all over town and we’ll go to the Welcome Center and other places,” explained Rick Webb, co-chair of the Logan In Bloom committee.
The two judges coming to town are Sue Amatangelo and Laurie Potier-Brown, both come with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Amatangelo first became an AIB judge in 2010 and helped bring her own community of St. Charles, Illinois, into the AIB program. She has an extensive background, which includes the position of Eastern U.S. and Canada Sales Manager for EuroAmerican Propagators, founder of the number one plant brand Proven Winners, the Brand Manager with Park Seed, and the National Retail Accounts Manager for the Ball Horticultural Company working on annual and perennial programs for major retailers and growers in the U.S. and Canada.
In 2010, Amatangelo accepted the position of Director for Home and Garden Showplace, the independent garden center division of the True Value Company working closely with independent garden centers in the U.S. and Canada. She was a Horticulture Superintendent for the Kane County Illinois Fair, a past board member of the Garden Centers of American and The University of Illinois Kane County Council, and won the Illinois Outstanding Master Gardener Award.
Additionally, Amatangelo is the author of “Absolutely Beautiful Containers” and has written a children’s book on gardening. She is an active speaker with a particular passion to get consumers engaged and excited about gardening, has been a guest on radio shows, a writer for both industry and consumer magazines and a guest speaker for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Potier-Brown, was raised on a dairy farm, which ignited her lifelong passion for wandering around in nature. She started her professional career with degrees in psychology and art, where she wound up in the corporate world receiving extensive training in business and marketing.
Twelve years of that was enough to convince Potier-Brown that she would rather work with plants than people. She returned to school and graduated with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida, then completed an apprenticeship in Brazil with Roberto Burle-Marx.
Potier-Brown’s career has included private, corporate, and government settings. Her last formal position was with the City of Tampa, Florida. She has designed, contracted, and installed projects from tiny Zen Gardens at Hospice to five miles of Bayfront Boulevard where 22,000 annuals were changed out three times a year. Now, she owns a Landscape Architecture firm in Tampa, and recently completed the University of Florida Master Gardener Program.
Earlier in the year, the Logan in Bloom committee hosted the annual kickoff event in Worthington Park. Guests enjoyed not only the beautifully-decorated streets of Downtown, but also ice cream, tree planting, and a recycling display. Additionally, a contest was held for the Logan High School students who were the artists of 40 flags.
This year, there are roughly 36 sponsors who helped make Logan in Bloom possible. The committee typically needs support in the amount of $10,000 for the flowers, according to Webb, but the addition of flowers and trees continue to grow each year.
Last year, Logan in Bloom was awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award in the Community Involvement category, which goes to show just how much the community cares about beautifying Logan.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive remarks, a lot of people talking about how beautiful it (Downtown Logan) is. I think we’re seeing more people walk around Downtown and that’s what we want to do. We want to get it to a point where people are coming from the caves and coming Downtown and spending money,” expressed Webb.
Webb even mentioned some other cities within the area have contacted him asking how the committee helps to make Logan more beautiful. However, it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community and Webb has some words of encouragement before the judges arrive.
“We just want people to get out and mow their lawns, pull their weeds and tidy up their homes to show off Logan, to show pride in it and show it off to the country because we’ll be at the next convention of America In Bloom — and communities from all across the country are going to hear about some of the things we do,” concluded Webb.