Input from residents sought in determining entranceway

SALEM-Area residents now have the chance to help select the welcome mat visitors will see when they arrive in Salem.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Salem News will publish the eight entries chosen as finalists for the Salem Entranceway Design Contest, along with a ballot for people to pick their favorite design using a numbering system from one to eight.

The deadline to turn in ballots will be March 14. Ballots should be mailed to the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, 713 E. State St., Salem, Ohio 44460. Only a ballot printed in the Salem News will be accepted – no copies will be permitted.

The entries can also be viewed on the Salem News website at under Extras and will be numbered one through eight.

Voting online will take place as an epoll question on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with voting limited to one design per IP address.

“This contest will assist us with input from the community, and will be used in determining the final design by the chamber’s Entranceway Committee.

This volunteer committee will be taking into account the cost of the design and sizes, location, etc. The winning design that is ultimately chosen will be the final decision of the Entranceway Committee,” chamber Executive Director Audrey C. Null said.

Members of the chamber’s Entranceway Committee, Salem Chamber Board of Directors and city administration, including Mayor John Berlin and Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst, reviewed the 44 entries received and narrowed them down to the final eight. Null offered her thanks to the Salem News for publishing the finalists.

“I think it’s great the Salem News is doing this. The chamber appreciates the partnership on this community project to promote Salem,” she said.

The idea of new entranceway signs came out of the Salem Area Sustainable Comprehensive Plan released in 2008 with assistance from OSU Extension as an initiative that was needed, she explained.

City council agreed last fall to provide up to $21,000 from council contingency money to help with the cost of the project. The chamber will provide a match and at least two chamber businesses have made a commitment to help with construction costs and labor. Null said they have no estimate for the cost since the design hasn’t been selected yet.

“Our goal is to initially build four entranceways to the city,” she said.

Locations haven’t been determined, but it’s likely they’ll be placed on the main roads entering the city in all four directions. Currently there are City of Salem signs along South Lincoln Avenue, North Lincoln Avenue and West State Street. There are no signs at the east end.

“We hope to have at least one built by the end of the year,” she said.

The contest aimed at capturing the essence of Salem on a sign to welcome visitors to the city was open to all students and adults of any age. Residency in Salem was not a requirement, but all of the entries did come from Salem addresses. Artists could submit as many entries as they wanted, with some submitting multiple entries.

“We were very happy with the response from the community,” Null said.

The entry form said that “entries should reflect the essence of Salem present and/or past. Possible theme ideas would be the incorporation of ‘City of Peace,’ ‘Founded in 1806,’ ‘Salem’s Industrial past,’ ‘Quaker City,’ etc. Theme ideas for Salem can be found at the Salem Public Library or the Salem Historical Society.”

The winner will be announced sometime in March. The winning design artist will receive a $100 honorarium and a signature plaque on each of the signs. The chamber will own all rights to use of the design.