SALEM- The Salem Beautification Committee is attempting to plant the idea of city pride by establishing a new award for businesses kept clean and presentable.
Called the Sunflower Award, the recognition will consist of a sunflower placard or sticker that can be displayed at a business to signify continued excellence when it comes to appearance.
Qualifications for the award include clean windows, neatly maintained entryways and sidewalks and an aesthetically pleasing facade. If there's grass, it's kept trimmed and there are no weeds growing up.
The Salem Beautification Committee is an arm of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and already gives out a "Yard of the Month" award and "Business of the Month" award for residents and businesses for how their yard or business looks.
That's just once a month and Jennifer Brown, a member of the committee, thought "it's too bad we can't recognize people for taking care of their businesses," referring to merchants whose businesses look nice all the time.
Committee member Karen Carter said they started at the east end of town and worked their way west and have about 50 places picked out, stressing they were very selective about which businesses qualified for the award, which will be presented on an annual basis.
The motto for the award is "Planting Pride...City-Wide."
"We would like every business to have a Sunflower Award," she said.
Committee members will distribute the awards personally sometime before Family Fall Fun Day, which is set for Sept. 21 in Salem.
Brown said it's about pride of ownership, with the award given out in appreciation of those people who take care of their businesses and keep them looking nice on a continuous basis.
Besides Brown and Carter, members of the committee include Charlotte Wallace, JeanAlice Fehr, Isabel Huber, Elaine Rousseau-Kothera, Carolyn Jones, Gina Dermotta and Audrey Null, executive director of the chamber.