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TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Tompkins County is in full bloom this summer and the Community Beautification Program would like to recognize those who contribute to beautification efforts in the City of Ithaca and rural towns and villages. Nominations are now being accepted for outstanding examples of local beautification by businesses, civic associations, and residents throughout Tompkins County.

Award winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate to a locally-owned nursery, and everyone who sends in a nomination will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift certificate as well. Nominations will be accepted until October 1 and award recipients will be recognized at a reception in early November.

To nominate your favorite examples of beautification send an email to Chrys Gardener at with your nominations in the following categories. Please include the address of the location and attach digital photos if possible.

The nomination categories are:

  • Community Beautification Award for a Business
  • Community Beautification Award for a Civic Association
  • Community Beautification Award for a Residence
  • Community Beautification Award for Placemaking

Types of beautification can include landscape plantings, hanging baskets, planters, murals, interpretive signage and any other features that add color and uniqueness to our communities. A separate category specifically recognizes placemaking, defined by the Project for Public Spaces as “a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value”. Placemaking involves anything improvement or activity that reimagines and reinvents a public space to make it more appealing and useful. The addition of tables, chairs, and planters to the area behind Center Ithaca in a formerly underused alley is one recent example.

Nominations will be reviewed by the County Beautification, Art and Signage Committee, and winners will be recognized at the Community Beautification awards dinner in November at La Tourelle Hotel. This annual event also recognizes beautification volunteers and community partners.

The Tompkins County Community Beautification Program was established in 2002 with funds from the Tompkins County Tourism Program and the Hotel Room Tax, an additional 5% tax paid by guests at local hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts to support tourism initiatives. The program is administered by the Tompkins County Tourism Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the Beautification Program is to improve the landscaping and aesthetics in highly travelled areas of the county. In the City of Ithaca, this is accomplished through the efforts of a group of staff and volunteers called the Beautification Brigade. The Community Beautification Program also distributes grants to the rural Towns in Tompkins County for beautification projects, which are also implemented and maintained primarily by volunteers.

For more information about the Community Beautification Program, go to

Featured image: Enfield Fire Department was the 2017 winner in the Civic Association category for community beautification. (Provided Photo)