America in Bloom Advisors to Visit Struthers Next Week

STRUTHERS, Ohio – Representatives from the America in Bloom program plan to visit the city next week as part of the nonprofit organization’s efforts to support beautification initiatives across the country, officials said Monday.

“The end result is just to bring awareness to our city so they have more of a pride of what the neighborhood looks like, what the business areas look like and give us a professional look at what would work,” Mayor Catherine Cercone Miller said.

These visits are part of this year’s Celebrate Your Community – Level 3 program, where 33 communities are participating from across the United States.

The America in Bloom initiative is part of a larger beautification effort in Struthers, the mayor noted.

Miller said rather than some of the previous revitalization efforts focusing on the downtown area, this program will help them beautify the entire city.

“We are always looking to improve, to do better, especially in our downtown. We have had a lot of movement lately, and a lot of people ever since COVID have been really planting, gardening more and wanting to be outside more too,” she said.

America in Bloom is a nonprofit organization that encourages improvement and beautification initiatives in communities by offering expertise on horticulture, plants, flowers and other aesthetics that elevate the quality of life of residents. The organization then presents awards to participating communities.

Jenna Koontz, a Realtor with Howard Hanna and member of Youngstown Columbiana Association of Realtors, brought the program to their attention, Miller said. After applying for and receiving a grant, YCAR paid for Struthers’ membership into the program.

“We are just happy to be included, and we have some attention from YCAR, that they would suggest that this would be something that would fit our community,” she said.

Working on local revitalization efforts, Struthers will receive a detailed written evaluation from AIB advisors citing strengths and opportunities for improvement. The advisors are scheduled to visit the city on June 19 and 20.

Participants will also 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.

Advisors will be evaluating the community’s efforts in the AID’s seven areas of impact: community vitality, floral impact, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental initiatives, celebrating heritage and overall impression. They will then offer advice for future projects and improvements.

The advisor team members will be Kirk R. Brown, a founding member of, and Ed Hooker III, who currently serves as the first historical architect of the National Cemetery Administration, Veterans Affairs. They will be taken on a two-day tour of the city, talking to residents, visiting parks, walking downtown and in different business districts and going through neighborhoods, Miller said.

More than 280 communities from 43 states have participated in the AIB program, and more than 22 million people have been reached by it.

Awards will be announced Sept. 28-30 at AIB’s National Symposium & Awards Celebration in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.