GALLIPOLIS — As spring approaches, Gallipolis in Bloom is seeking new leadership for the coming growing season.
According to Gallipolis in Bloom President Bev Dunkle, she is considering retirement in the coming years and is ready to step down as the chairperson of GIB efforts in the America in Bloom competition. To partake in the annual AIB competition GIB has been part of the last 12 years, paperwork must be submitted by February. Dunkle has been the president of the nonprofit organization since the late 2000s.
“We have until February 28,” said Dunkle,” to join the contest…If somebody wants to take that over, that would be wonderful. We have all of our records. I have everything on flash drives and we’re here to help people.”
According to Dunkle, the chairperson is the individual who makes certain the organization makes all of its deadlines for the America in Bloom competition. Dunkle has decided she is done being a chairperson and wishes to focus on other personal endeavors, but will continue on with GIB in a lesser role. She asks another to carry the torch.
GIB has taken home many awards over the years as part of its returning participation in America in Bloom. Because of its continued success, it competes in the Circle of Champions, a category reserved for successful returning communities. Of 39 other competing cities in the U.S., GIB has walked home as champs twice over the last two years in its population category. The group also had special nominations in Best Floral Displays, even against settlements with far larger populations. GIB also had a special nomination in Best Program for Engaging Children in past years.
America in Bloom is an organization based out of Columbus, Ohio, that encourages beautification of towns nationally. It is also part of Communities in Bloom, an international organization.
“We’ve been invited to compete internationally the last two years,” said GIB Volunteer Coordinator Kim Canaday. “It’s just expensive to enter and we choose to focus on our flower budget here instead.”
“You want to mentor somebody while you’re still here,” said Dunkle. “I would like to help mentor somebody or they can take it over and they don’t have to ever talk to me about it…We’re open to new leadership and new ideas. There are some programs we won’t do because we might not be in the contest but we’ll still do the Yard of the Week and stuff like that.”
“I think it has done wonders for the city and it has grown so much in aesthetic beauty,” said Dunkle. “Neighborhoods have jumped on board and I think a lot of them are more clean and tidy.”
Canaday emphasized the importance of the AIB competition and how it had effected the reputation of Gallipolis.
“People from across the country know who we are when we enter the room,” said Canaday of the end of year AIB symposiums, which capstone the national competitions. “They ask us for advice and how to make their communities better and look up to little Gallipolis. That’s important. We steal ideas, but we steal them from the best and we help others with theirs.”
For those interested in partaking in the coming GIB season, they are encouraged to contact Dunkle at the Gallipolis Justice Center or Canaday at the Gallipolis Municipal Building.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342 or the Gallipolis Daily Tribune Facebook page.