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June 6, 2000

It's good to see all those youngsters splashing around in our municipal swimming pool, a sure sign that summer has arrived. Those who remember the ordeal of winning approval for building the pool some 50 years ago can feel proud of their efforts. As I recall, Councilman Jim Wilson pretty much spearheaded the effort. When we finally had the long-awaited dedication day ceremony, Jim found a bathing suit big enough for his ample girth and he was one of the first to dip a tentative toe in the clear blue water that day. Until that momentous event, our kids mostly swam in muddy ponds. That sparkling new pool looked wonderful to us then.

Project Perry, the spectacular event that attracted more than 400 builders, developers and entrepreneurs to our little city last month, is still going strong. Serious plans are being discussed for a number of projects that will help, handle the anticipated growth of this community in the near future. Deputy city clerk Cindy Rice, who has been designated to serve as the single source of information for parties interested in what's going on, is receiving more inquiries each day. She is channeling those with questions to the person or entity that can answer them. Plans are moving forward on several major projects and we'll be hearing more about them as time goes on. Members of the Project Perry committee are meeting periodically to make sure this train stays on track.

One of the things that we keep hearing concerns the first impression our town leaves with visitors. "They see the best and the worst of us," one local observer noted. "Generally speaking, the courthouse park gives visitors a really favorable feeling. The grass is green and the lawn is well cared for. Flowerbeds are clean and unsightly trash is usually quickly picked up. The Hopes and Dreams statue on the east lawn is an impressive sight all by itself and the new sidewalks and period street lights add greatly to the vision. At nighttime, the floodlights make the entire park a lovely spectacle. The courthouse building is a stately example of traditional architecture, something to give all of us a sense of pride."

On the other hand, with a closer look, visitors see weeds flourishing through the bricks and cracks in concrete sidewalks in front of businesses located around the square. In many cases little or no effort is made to control or remove them. Storefront windows are sometimes so dirty that you can't see into the businesses. Unfortunately, similar problems are also all too obvious in the residential area. Lawns are unattended, trash and/or junk litters the yard, junk cars and pickups are often in plain view, and visitors can only conclude that no one cares.

Whatever happened to our "Prettiest Yard of the Month" contest and other things that instilled pride throughout the community? Look around and see for yourself. If your neighborhood suffers, do something to get rid of the condition and let's continue to make Perry a pleasant sight to behold.