Carthage wins two distinguished awards from America in Bloom

CARTHAGE, Mo. – A Carthage-based nonprofit aiming to revitalize the city through beautification, togetherness and community promotion is being singled out nationally for its work.

Vision Carthage has partnered with America in Bloom, a Columbus, Ohio-based group, in promoting community growth through the use of plants and environmental enhancements.

America in Bloom has recognized the Carthage Public Library’s Steadley Family Legacy Center’s Makerspace Building as the winner of the Most Impressive New Project or Program – Innovation in Action award.

Carthage was the sole American city to receive the designation this year.

AIB advisors surprised Carthage with an additional award for its astonishing community vitality after touring the city last July.

AIB evaluated participants in several areas to award them, including environmental initiatives, heritage celebration, community vitality, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral impact and overall impression.

AIB’s primary objective is to uplift American communities through nationally recognized awards.

Leanna Canfield, Vision Carthage executive director, says the Makerspace Building award holds extra significance, as no one in Carthage applied for it; it was given voluntarily by the impressed members of AIB’s advisory team.

“We got to show them a lot of awesome things in Carthage and expose them to what our community is,” said Canfield.

The Makerspace Building has multiple free resources available for the community’s needs. The facility includes a laser cutter, 3D printers, a vinyl cutting program, an equipped kitchen and borrowable hand tools, among other things.

Vision Carthage aims to inspire residents of America’s Maple Leaf City to continue beautifying their surroundings for years to come.

In addition, Vision Carthage partners with local volunteers to plant and organize flowers on the city square. The nonprofit receives help from the City of Carthage to buy plants, with grants covering the remaining expenses.

“Beautification is one piece of our mission here in Carthage,” Canfield said. “We have a couple of different programs we have to promote beautification. One is the Carthage in Bloom award. This year we had 100 nominations for homes in Carthage that have beautiful landscaping, flowers or gardens. We pick the top 25 out of all of the nominations and they receive awards and a special yard sign to display in their yard. We try to make that special.”

Canfield believes that without the Steadley Family Legacy Center’s Makerspace Building, Carthage would not have won the prestigious award for the most impressive new project or program. 

“Our job is to help Carthage be the best it can be, and to highlight what we see as outsiders,” AIB advisor Laurie Lafferty told KSN16 News. “When we come into the community, we look at it with different eyes and maybe make suggestions no one else has come up with.”

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