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May 19, 2000

Perry's Main Street organization launched its annual fund-raising drive this week when a handful of workers fanned out over the city to seek operating cash for the coming year. It seems to me that this organization does not receive enough credit for the many positive things it is accomplishing. Main Street is justified in asking for funds and all of us need to pitch in with some kind of help. Money gifts are certainly part of the response that's needed.

Janet Shannon of Foster's Corner Drug is the current Main Street board chairman and Vicki Spaulding is the program director. Both are hard working, dedicated people who are seeking to move Main Street forward. A board composed of talented men and women who share their belief in the organization's goal supports them. Here's the goal, as expressed in Perry Main Street's mission statement: "To improve the quality of life in the City of Perry by strengthening the downtown area as the center of the community, using the comprehensive approach of design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion." Simply stated, that means all of us who live here are helped by Main Street.

The Perry Main Street organization came into existence in 1995. Since then, it has been responsible for the following: Bringing back the popular monthly flea market on the square; creating, distributing and analyzing consumer surveys to help merchants and property owners in long-term strategic planning; recognizing and rewarding property owners, merchants and individuals working for a better downtown; providing free one on one business consulting through the Oklahoma Main Street program; providing $250 grants for facade restorations; offering free hand-held fans for the September Cherokee Strip celebration; organizing the annual Christmas ball; Christmas for Kids promotion; providing maintenance and expansion of courthouse flower gardens, including the addition of inscribed stone slabs anchoring each corner of the square.. That's an impressive menu of accomplishments, but Perry Main Street does much more than that with no fanfare. For one thing, the organization just recently purchased a surrey to be used for tours of downtown Perry. You'll be seeing it many times during the year as visitors come calling.

Main Street is a living, vibrant entity in this city and it will play a key role in the further development of the quality of life here. It deserves the support, including financial, of everyone who calls this community home. When a volunteer worker visits you during the next few days, do the town a favor and make a contribution. Several levels of giving are suggested, starting with ten cents a day, which translates to $36.50 for one year, and ranging upward through 25 cents a day ($91.25/year); 50 cents a day ($182.50/year); $1/day ($366 this year); $5/day ($1,825/year); and $10 day ($3,650/year). Don't let it stop with your pledge or cash contribution. Main Street also needs warm bodies to assist in carrying out its many projects. Ask about the innovative committees already functioning and pick one where you feel comfortable. That kind of help is always welcome, and Perry Main Street needs YOU.