By: Lynne Hart
There are many things to love about Athens and Limestone County. Some of my favorite things include the friendliness of the people I meet, the increased awareness and concern people have about our local environment, and the efforts to keep Athens the lovely bedroom community it has always been.
There are some things, though, that concern me. I cringe when land is purchased and prepared for building new developments and every single tree is removed and none are replaced. The neighborhood I live in is one example of that. There is more concrete than there is green space. It was necessary for me to move to such a neighborhood when my husband was still with me and needed a safe, handicap-accessible home.
If it were up to me, I would have trees lining our streets, which would be no problem because we have underground utilities. Because of all the concrete, there is nowhere to plant them even if the development agreed to it.
Benefits of Green Spaces
Close your eyes and picture your favorite park or other green space. Now imagine that place with no grass, no trees, no flowers, and no green. The tranquility of the place you imagined most likely vanished along with everything green. It has been proven that green spaces provide stress reduction, lower crime rates, improved mental health, and increased self-esteem. It also increases community appeal, drawing people to come to shop, visit restaurants, and participate in community activities.
Human beings are not designed to live in sterile, concrete environments. I personally feel a noticeable difference in my mood when I leave my nearly treeless, minimally green neighborhood and enter an area with trees, birds, flowers, and other signs of nature.
Our Athens-Limestone Beautification Board is all about the beauty of green space. This board enjoys rewarding those responsible for the most beautiful landscaping of businesses, industries, churches, and public buildings located within Athens and Limestone County.
This is where we ask for help. We count on Athens-Limestone residents to help us find the best landscaped properties and nominate these businesses, industries, churches, and public buildings for consideration to receive a Beautification Award sign, which they will display for one year.
Nominations will be accepted through May 15, 2018. Judging will take place in June by Master Gardeners who live outside of Limestone County.
Nominated properties do not have to be elaborate. The board is looking for landscaping that displays the following characteristics:
Suitability of landscaping to the site, interesting design, and use of color and texture in plant selection
All constructed walls, walks, etc. in good condition with materials used being suitable in color and size (if present)
A variety of healthy, well cared for plant materials exhibiting color, texture, and interest
Active maintenance evidenced by properly trimmed trees and shrubs; properly mowed, healthy grass; proper trimming and edging; no evidence of weeds or debris; and neat and perfected appearance.
No visible litter, with bulk trash containers concealed (if present)
Properties may be nominated online by visiting www.KALBCares.com. Click the Beautification icon and scroll to Beautification Awards. You can also find the form by going directly to www.KALBCares.com/beautification-award-nomination-form-business-and-industry.
Nomination forms will also be available at the KALB office. Please provide the address of the property and, if possible, a contact at the business, church, or public building being nominated.
We’re in this together, and together we can make beautiful things happen.
Please call the KALB office if you have any questions about this or any of our other programs or projects.
By: Lynne Hart