The city of Columbus, Indiana, received the America in Bloom Landscaped Areas Award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, in recognition of its varied green spaces – one of several regional and national awards for landscaping Columbus has received.
In Columbus, 19 miles of “people trails” – designated paved walking and biking trails – connect various green spaces, parks and playgrounds, including the formal Italianate gardens of the Irwin home downtown and the landscaped interstate entrance to businesses and homes.
“They roll through naturalized areas along riverbanks and through a manmade prairie,” says Cindy Frey, co-chair of the Columbus in Bloom committee and associate director of the Columbus visitor’s center. “They’re a wonderful community asset.”
The city also received special recognition for community involvement in its landscapes, and Columbus, with a population of about 39,000, won the 25,001-50,000 population category of the competition.
The America In Bloom judges evaluated Columbus using eight criteria, including floral displays, environmental awareness, landscaped areas, tidiness, urban forestry, heritage preservation, turf and groundcovers and community involvement.
Den Gardner, executive director of Project Evergreen, says Columbus could inspire cities nationwide to evaluate their own potential because of its exemplary green spaces. “An environmentalist once said that landscape shapes culture,” Gardner says. “Columbus lavishes the same care and attention on its architecture, arts and community as it does its green space.”
Columbus, well known for its modern architecture, takes pride in its landscape architects as well, Frey says. “We have amazing architecture in our town,” she says, ” and the offset to that is that we also have amazing landscape architects.” Frey says the America in Bloom competition was a good opportunity to draw attention to the city’s landscaping. “We felt it might attract more visitors to the community if more people knew that story,” she says.