MUNDELEIN – Professional advisers from the America in Bloom program will visit Mundelein on July 27-28.
Mundelein is one of the many communities across America working on local revitalization programs. Communities that are more welcoming and vibrant have a competitive advantage in stimulating economic development and creating a thriving place for people to work and live, according to the news release.
America in Bloom communities experience better cooperation among municipal, commercial and residential sectors because everyone works toward a common goal, according to the release.
In addition to receiving a detailed written evaluation from the advisers citing strengths and opportunities for improvement, participants receive a special mention for what the judges deem to be an extraordinary project or program. Additional awards that can be earned include:
• Population category winner
• Outstanding achievement award – the “best of the best” overall participants in each of the evaluated criteria
• Special awards
• Community champion
• YouTube video
Advisers will be evaluating the community’s efforts in the areas of community vitality, floral impact, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental initiatives, celebrating heritage and overall impression.
Adviser team member Rod Barnes serves as the town administrator for Edmonston, Maryland. Edmonston is a small community in the Washington, D.C., metro region. Barnes has a master’s degree in public administration from Kansas State University. He has served as a purchasing agent, finance director, city clerk and city manager during his 35 years in local government. While serving in local government roles, he has developed historic preservation projects and has extensive experience working on trail development and expanding park green space. In the two years he has been at Edmonston, he has focused on the town’s environmental efforts. He has expertise in the development of green streets that include the components of rain gardens, bike lanes, using recycled materials for furniture and trash receptacles and permeable paving. Other sustainable environment projects he has been involved with include the use of solar energy for heating the town hall and the use of electric cars for code enforcement and public works. Barnes was instrumental in the development of a community garden and three community fruit tree orchards in Edmonston.
Adviser team member Kristina Whitney serves as a historic preservation specialist and archaeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Whitney’s passion for history and preservation began at a young age with field trips to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg and continued through earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s in public archaeology from the University of New Mexico. Her career in cultural resource management has spanned the public and private sectors working in roles focused on managing buried and built heritage that include archaeologist, historic preservationist, Section 106 coordinator, curator and tribal liaison.
More than 280 communities from 43 states have participated in the America in Bloom program and more than 22 million people have been touched by it, according to the release. Awards will be announced Sept. 28-30 at AIB’s National Symposium and Awards Celebration in Spartanburg, South Carolina.