Aim recognizes 2 city programs

Two city of Seymour long-term initiatives were recognized Thursday during the 2022 Aim Ideas Summit annual awards luncheon at French Lick Resort.

“It is nice to see the city team get recognized for its hard work over the previous year,” Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson said. “Both the pollinator gardens and Curb Appeal Program have been successful, and we hope to continue to maintain them and maybe expand them in the future. I am proud of everyone for all they have done to make our community better.”

The pollinator gardens program, which involves several small areas in established parks being turned into a garden for pollinators, received the Aim Green Project of the Year Award.

“The Seymour pollinator gardens are a great example of how municipalities understand their ability to solve problems beyond what many see as the traditional roles of a city or town. This award highlights Seymour’s holistic approach to municipal services, and we were excited to showcase the pollinator gardens project as this year’s Green Project of the Year,” Accelerate Indiana Municipalities Chief Executive Officer Matt Greller said during the awards presentation.

“Seymour Parks and Recreation was excited to implement pollinator gardens into our park system,” city Parks Director Stacy Findley said. “Seymour Parks and Recreation will continue to make conservation efforts to make the community a better place. My hope is that the Aim award will shine a light on all the great things we have going on in our parks, specifically at Westside Park. We would specifically like to thank the Students Take a Stand, Indiana University Upland Maker Mobile through the Jackson County Public Library and local Cub Scouts for their contributions.”

Other pollinator gardens were implemented in downtown Seymour near city hall. Those gardens are credited to Marc Stephens with the department of public works, Trina Roark with the Jackson County Public Library and Laura Eglen with the parks department.

The concept is simple — a small garden that attracts bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and more to transfer pollen from flower to flower, or in some cases, within flowers. These small gardens can make a huge difference as pollinators have suffered greatly from loss of habitat, the spread of invasive plant and animal species and the disappearance of some pollinators.

Seymour has steadily replaced grassy and overgrown areas with pollinator gardens over the past couple of years and is now up to more than 2,000 square feet of pollinator space, according to a news release.

Aim, formerly known the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, launched the Green Communities Initiative in 2008 in conjunction with Christopher B. Burke Engineering LLC to identify potential cost savings to communities facing budget shortfalls, promote economically competitive quality-of-life concepts and ultimately serve as role models for citizens while better protecting our environment.

The initiative has expanded educational opportunities for municipalities. Every year, the program honors one outstanding project, which exemplifies the program’s ideals.

Seymour also took home an Aim Program Innovation Award for the Curb Appeal Program. The city won in the less than 25,000 population category.

Seymour created the program to demonstrate that small but visible projects, such as landscaping, new windows, a sidewalk, new siding or shutters, a power washing or a new coat of paint, would make a difference in neighborhoods.

The city provided matching funds up to $500 per project or $750 for neighbors applying together. The city council backed the program up to $10,000 from the unsafe structure fund, and more than $8,200 was awarded.

“Seymour’s Curb Appeal Program is proof that you don’t have to spend millions of dollars to impact a community’s pride of place,” Greller said. “Programs like this are easily replicated to fit the needs of other cities and towns, and we hope this recognition will produce just the right kind of copycats.”

Since the 1890s, Aim has been an advocate for municipalities and is the official voice of municipal government in Indiana with more than 460 cities and towns as members. Its purpose is to foster, promote and advocate for the success of Hoosier municipalities as laboratories of innovation, hubs of talent and the engines driving the state’s economy.

The luncheon, presented by Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors LLC, was attended by 1,000.

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