Every year, Concrete Surfaces' sister publication Public Works asks 65,000 readers what projects they plan to build over the coming year. These municipal, county, and special district employees aren’t the ones who do the work; they’re the ones who plan, budget for, and award the work.

In other words, they hold the purse strings.

If you’ve ever bid on a government job, you know that finding these people is tricky. Every government entity is structured differently. The man or woman who wants you to bid on a job could be working virtually anywhere — the engineering department, parks & rec, sidewalk and street maintenance, and even solid waste (er, garbage). But they’re out there.

So it caught my attention when I saw that one-third plan to restore their central business districts. City and county coffers aren’t as lean as they were a few years ago, and downtown restoration projects are considered key to attracting revenue-generating businesses and foot traffic.

Another 34% plan to use decorative concrete or block pavers in projects. It could be downtown beautification. It could also be one of the many walkway, driveway, street, courtyard, forecourt, park, and pathway projects for which concrete is an ideal surface option.

If you don’t know who in your neck of the woods specifies such work, you might want to find out.

Let the Games Begin!

The editors of this magazine plus a couple of industry experts are probably judging this year’s Polished Concrete Award submissions as you read this. You should hear us argue. It’s always a good time.

“So what if the project’s not beautiful; it’s a deft solution to a tough technical challenge.”

“How did they say they got that finish? That’s an interesting approach.”

We’ll publish the results of our discussions (the winning projects) in January 2016 and on our website.