Bravo Awards highlight a beautified Blount

There’s a way to celebrate the Bravo Awards…with enthusiasm.

“You’ll notice the word Bravo with an exclamation point…it’s Bravo!!!” Dee Lidvall of the Blount County Garden Club said at the Bravo Awards Luncheon at RT Lodge on June 4.

The Keep Blount Beautiful annual meeting and Bravo Awards luncheon lauded area schools and businesses for making the community more livable and beautiful.

Five representatives of garden clubs from throughout Blount County team up each year to evaluate non-residential properties and award winners in specific categories.

“The idea of the program was to make Blount County more beautiful,” said Lidvall.

Winners included Clayton Homes, Countryside Veterinary Services, Fairview Elementary School, Mountain National Bank and Razberries. Capitol Theater and The Market won awards in the Building Reuse category.

Lidvall said Clayton Homes had two large pools situated at the entrance. “They’re very, very attractive, all with blooming plants. It has wonderfully textured plants,” he said. “The whole area is just immaculate.”

Lidvall praised Countryside Veterinarian Services landscaping. “It’s worth the drive to Little Dug Gap Road, even if you don’t have a sick puppy,” she said. “It’s just immaculate and most interesting.”

Lidvall said Fairview Elementary School has a water garden and a native garden that are impressive. “It’s very inviting to reading classes,” she said of the water garden. “The water is clear and clean.”

Lidvall said one of the gardens was built on asphalt. “This was not an easy project,” she said. “It has taken five years.”

Mountain National Bank on US 411 South was singled out for how the slope in front was landscaped to avoid erosion. “The sign has a combination of rocks and textures,” she said.

Lidvall recognized Razberries for using a small amount of space in a good way. “Some places have acres and acres, and others have little city blocks. The lovely green ivy is nice. They have roses planted in containers,” Lidvall said. “We were thrilled to see a little bitty area in an urban setting as opposed to acres and acres.”

Nominees are solicited from the public and the judges tour the sites during the early spring. Criteria for the award include: the condition, the use of landscape design, use of color and originality. Other criteria or questions judges ask include whether or not the entry improve the environment, is it a long-term improvement and is it visibly pleasing.

Other Bravo Award nominees included Dancing Bear Lodge, The Barn, Tyson Centre and William Blount High School.

Keep Blount Beautiful immediate past president Tim Self said the annual meeting is an opportunity to elect new board members and officers. “It’s a changing of the guard,” he said. “We recognize board members who have served for years.”

Self said the mission of Keep Blount Beautiful is to beautify, preserve and encourage environmental stewardship. “The Bravo! Award is one of the ways we give recognition to those businesses that really grasp and take hold of our organizational slogan, ‘It’s up to You.’ These are businesses that put time and energy in landscaping that enrich our community and are jewels we all appreciate.”

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