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January 7, 2003

Here s a followup to that recent information about the little Santa Claus house that has been placed in the courthouse park by the Perry Chamber of Commerce for several years. You'll recall that the original feature story in this newspaper said the miniature structure is just about past the stage of usefulness and it may have to be replaced. It was built more than sixty years ago for the young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Cress, who lived in the 800 block on Jackson street. Later it was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Leatherock for their young daughter, Marianne, and moved to the back yard of their home at 901 Jackson street. It remained in that yard for several years until it eventually became property of the Chamber of Commerce.

Now we learn that the little house was structurally renovated when it was moved to the Leatherock yard. Don (Pud) Edwards and Darrell (Smoky) Pricer, two local carpenters who worked for P.J. (Pete) Cordes, a well-known general contractor, installed windows and repaired the roof after it was moved to the Leatherock home. Pud, who still lives here, remembers the project quite well, but Smoky has changed vocations and now lives in Tulsa. So far, I still don't know who built the original house or whether Mr. and Mrs. Cress bought it, ready-made, for their daughter. Maybe a reader can shed more light on this subject.

Both of our fine Perry banks are involved in improvement projects. The Exchange Bank & Trust Co. has installed a handsome four-faced clock mounted on a tall pedestal near the main entrance to their building at Sixth and Delaware. The bank also has had concrete poured for a portion of the sidewalk in that area and there may be a change in the architectural landscaping at the entryway itself, I'm told.

One block up the street from there, the First Bank & Trust has purchased residential property on the west side of their parking lot. The home at that location has been razed and some dirt work has been done to fill in the basement and lower the sloping area at the front of the lot. For now, the First Bank folks have not fully decided what to do with the property but it may become an expansion for their parking lot. More space is needed there.

More things are happening in Our Town. The mayor, city councilors and the Perry Economic Development Authority have received a letter from Busch Properties, Inc., formalizing that company's plans to build a 60,000 square foot warehouse/distribution center here, and it will employ some 30 people. More jobs and a new payroll are always welcome, particularly in this time of economic uncertainty throughout our country.