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March 7, 1997

That big sign across the front of Roy Kendricks' Cherokee Strip Antique Mall on the north side of the square has been at a kind of horizontal half-staff since a windstorm about a year ago, but I notice he's re-doing it. Remnants of the original sign have been taken down, with the help of Max and Anna Lou Randall, and a painted version will replace it when the weather allows Roy to get up there with his brush. The front already looks much better. Roy and the other antique and collectible dealers bring a lot of visitors to our town, some from far distant points.

I understand more work is planned to improve the dangerous traffic situation around the Middle School on 15th street. New sidewalks on the east end of the 1400 block on Locust were a start, and more of the same are to be constructed on the west half. Then, a crosswalk will be designed on 15th street, and Locust may be extended to relieve the congestion now existing when parents deliver youngsters or pick them up after classes. Despite warning signs and crossing guards, motorists persist in driving above the posted speed limit during critical times of the day. It's a dangerous practice that must be curbed.

A lot of folks will be happy to see the end of that power sub-station between Maple and Locust on 9th street. It's known familiarly as "Doc Brown's sub-station" because of its proximity to Dr. and Mrs. A. M. Brown's handsome home, but it's also an eyesore to Bill and Marvie Rotter, whose home is even closer. The structure was ugly when it was built years ago and time has not improved its appearance. Many of us rejoice for the neighborhood now that its demise seems imminent.

One of the most visible improvements around town will be the new sidewalk and street light project scheduled to be started around the square this spring. A federal grant enables this extension project, and it will complement the many building upgrades being facilitated by the Perry Main Street organization. That group is getting things accomplished, thanks to a lot of hard working volunteers. Their efforts were validated the other day by a national research study team that spent some time here looking into our community. The three team members were impressed with steps that already have been taken and others that are in various stages of development. Perry Main Street is just two years old.

One of the research team members singled out Norma Jerome and her Economic Restructuring Committee for special praise. The visiting team, which works throughout this nation, said they doubted that any ER committee in any size Main street community could exceed the level of organization already achieved by Norma and her hard-working group.

Characteristically, Norma gave all the credit to her committee members, but we know who got the ball rolling. The team had many other good things to say about this town and the Main Street organization, headed this year by Clyde Speer. Give these folks, and program manager Betty Warner, your thanks and cooperation when they come calling to ask for your participation. Be a Main Street volunteer.

Perry can take pride in all the things going on to make this a better place to live, but our friends up at Billings also have a lot going for them in that regard. A future column will delve into what's happening with our neighbors up north.