ADP hopes to beautify Pine Belt with flowers, trees

The Area Development Partnership of Hattiesburg is launching a new initiative aimed at encouraging Pine Belt residents to beautify their environment.

Dubbed "Pine Belt in Bloom," the civic project will involve individuals, businesses and other organizations pitching in and doing some planting.

The goal of this project is to make Hattiesburg a destination known for its plants, especially the city's new signature tree, the ginkgo, which turns an appropriate golden shade in the fall.

"The first impression of a community is very meaningful," said Barbara Watts, who is associated with the project. "If someone comes into Hattiesburg and they see flowers and trees that are well kept, then it encourages them to stay in the community, and we hope they would want to stay in Hattiesburg."

One of the goals of "Pine Belt in Bloom" is to help replenish trees lost during Hurricane Katrina. Officials hope to plant 100,000 new trees in the ADP service area.