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Little Big City

Banners touting Salem’s amenities go up across town

Bill Martig of the Salem city traffic & safety department hangs one of the new banners referring to Salem as Little Big City, promoting the big city amenities available to residents within the comforts of small town Salem. The new campaign is a collaboration of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Salem Partnership, Visit Salem Ohio/Salem Tourism and the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center. The Pearce Foundation funded the banners. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM — City promoters touting the big city benefits of living in small town Salem recently launched a campaign to attract young families and remind residents there’s no place like home.

Little Big City — that’s the catch phrase they’re using as Salem’s new moniker on downtown murals painted on buildings and on banners recently hung from downtown lamp posts.

“We might be a little city, but this city is big in its offerings and amenities,” Sustainable Opportunity Development Center Executive Director Julie Needs said.

Want to catch a free concert? Show up at Waterworth Memorial Park on a Sunday evening with a blanket or lawn chair. How about a movie? The park has free movie nights or families can visit the Salem Twin Cinema.

Play or musical? Check out Salem Community Theatre or the latest Salem High School production.

From left, Sustainable Opportunity Development Center Executive Director Julie Needs, banner designer Kristina Danklef of Visit Salem Ohio/Salem Tourism and Bill Martig of the Salem city traffic & safety department work on hanging the new Little Big City banners in downtown Salem. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

The Salem Parks system offers plenty of opportunity for recreation in any number of sports, walking trails, playgrounds or even just watching the bees buzz around the pollinator garden.

There’s lots of culture, with Freed Fest celebrating Salem’s Alan Freed who coined the phrase rock-n-roll, the Burchfield Homestead Museum in the boyhood home of famous artist and Salem native Charles Burchfield and of course, the offerings of the Salem Historical Society museums celebrating the city’s past.

Needs said there’s also downtown living in apartments above first floor businesses, a unique collection of restaurants for dining out and highly innovative industries looking for workers.

Salem Public Library keeps up with the latest technology while also offering interesting programming for both children and adults and access to historical information.

The community offers full-time city services for fire, police, housing, streets and utilities, a city health department, longtime service organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary, the Salem Super Cruise, the Banquet, the Salem Community Pantry, the Brightside Project, Salvation Army, Salem Regional Medical Center, churches of many denominations, Salem City Schools, the Salem High School Alumni Association, Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing, Kent State University Salem Campus and Allegheny Wesleyan College.

(Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

Needs explained that Salem residents can still have all the luxuries of a big city, but with a low cost of living and less traffic. Another advantage is Salem’s location on the map — within an hour and a half of both Cleveland and Pittsburgh, close to Akron and within a reasonable driving distance of Columbus and Lake Erie.

Little Big City is a collaboration of the SOD Center, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Salem Partnership and Visit Salem Ohio/Salem Tourism. Kristina Danklef of Visit Salem Ohio/Salem Tourism designed the new banners, which Needs said are meant “to create a feeling” about Salem.

Needs, Danklef and city traffic & safety employee Bill Martig spent some time Wednesday trying to finish hanging what’s left of the 105 banners.

The banners come in four colors, with each representing a different aspect of Little Big City. Red represents community with the word “Live” and an emphasis on the “I” in “Live.” Yellow represents culture and the arts with the word “Create” and the word “Eat” within “Create.” Green stands for recreation and history with the word “Explore” and the word “Lore” within “Explore” referring to the city’s storied past. Finally, blue represents industry and innovation with the word “Grow,” highlighting “Go” within it.

The planning started in March 2020, then the pandemic hit. The murals went up first, on the building at LiB’s Market, the building at Kast Iron Soda Works and the building housing the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Pearce Foundation donated the cost of the banners. There are also holiday versions that will be hung during the Christmas holiday season.

To learn more about what’s happening in Salem, check out VisitSalemOhio.com, www.salemohiochamber.com, sod center.com or the Downtown Salem Partnership social media page.

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