New community initiative ‘blooms’ in DeKalb

A planter is installed on campus.The City of DeKalb is ushering in the summer season with a new program that adds a splash of nature’s color to areas within the city and on the NIU campus.

Planters containing flowers and small shrubs have been deployed in locations in and around downtown DeKalb and throughout the NIU campus as a part of an initiative called Communiversity in Bloom.

The City of DeKalb, NIU and the nation’s leading plant brand, Proven Winners, are partnering on the project, which was conceived by DeKalb’s Citizens’ Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC) as way to complement ongoing efforts by both the city and NIU to beautify the community.

“We have made considerable strides in recent years to improve the aesthetics and amenities not only in the downtown area but throughout the city,” DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said. “The Communiversity in Bloom project is an excellent example of the efforts by our citizens to contribute to the beautification initiatives within our community.”

A total of 40 planters are evenly distributed in various locations within the city and the university campus. Each planter is approximately 3 feet in height and contains a small shrub and various species of colorful flowers.

Photo of a planter installed in downtown DeKalb.Marshall Dirks of Proven Winners said a number of communities throughout the country are developing projects similar to Communiversity in Bloom as a means to integrate natural beauty into an urban environment.

“Communities are recognizing that flowers and flowering plants or shrubs are a relatively simple and inexpensive way to add color and beauty to a cityscape,” said Dirks, a DeKalb resident and NIU alumnus.

“Bringing the beauty of nature into a community boosts civic pride and can perhaps inspire people to get more involved in projects, groups or initiatives that will help to enhance the environment in which they live.”

The city and NIU purchased the reusable planters while Proven Winners provided the planting soil, flowers and shrubs.

Planters will be on the display through the summer months and into the early fall before being emptied and stored for the winter. The planters will be repotted in the following spring and then redeployed throughout the city and campus later in the season.

“Communiversity in Bloom is a perfect complement to projects that both the city and the university have undertaken to enhance the quality of life in our community,” said CCEC member and NIU Trustee Bob Boey. “I believe this initiative is one that our community will embrace and that it has great potential for growth in the years ahead.”

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