America in Bloom (AiB) judges have arrived in West Chicago for a whirlwind tour of more than 20 community destinations over two days, July 26 – 27, 2018, and West Chicago’s hard-working AiB committee is ready to wow them.
Linda Cromer and Rod Barnes of America in Bloom will be judging community efforts in Urban Forestry, Flower Displays, Landscaped Areas, Community Vitality, Environmental Efforts, Celebrating Heritage and Overall Impression.
Among the stops are the West Chicago Prairie, Ball Horticultural Company, Reed-Keppler Park, Kline Creek Farm, a number of resident gardens throughout the community, the City Museum, and more.
A welcome reception sponsored by St. Andrew’s Golf Course will be held to introduce judges to the committee and elected officials who hope to share the many great collaborative beautification projects accomplished, in process or being planned for future. The Wednesday evening kickoff at St. Andrews will include refreshments, live entertainment and a golf cart tour of the outstanding grounds.
For an interactive map of tour stops and to learn more about the City’s Community Profile which was created as part of the application process, visit the City website under About/America in Bloom.
About the Judges
Linda Cromer has served her community, Greendale, Indiana, in a variety of political positions including Planning Commissioner, Chairperson of the Park Board and Tree Board, and Housing Authority Commissioner. She sits on the Executive Boards and plays an active role in the efforts of several national and state non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice and environmental issues.
Linda, who received a fine arts education at the University of Kansas, learned to love gardening at her grandmother’s knee. Owner and operator of a floral shop and greenhouse for over a decade, she has spent the bulk of her professional life traveling as an international representative for a labor organization, and has used those travel opportunities to audit design and horticulture classes at a number of universities, and to study the diversity and individuality of public gardens and the communities where they are located.
Linda is past president and active member of the local Garden Club and spearheaded her community’s first participation in the America in Bloom Program in 2005.
Rod Barnes currently serves as the Town Administrator for Edmonston, Maryland. Edmonston is a small community in the Washington DC metro region. Rod has a Master of Public Administration from Kansas State University. He has served as Purchasing Agent, Finance Director, City Clerk and as a City Manager over his 35 years of experience 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 greenspace in the communities he has served. 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 Town Hall, the use of electric cars for Code Enforcement and Public Works. Rod was instrumental in the development of a community garden and 3 community fruit tree orchards in Edmonston.
America in Bloom is an independent non-profit 501c3 corporation. America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play – benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.