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Community effort aims at 'beautifying' Perham

A Perham Beautification Committee was recently formed, and has been meeting for the past couple of months, discussing ways to help beautify and unify Perham's retail district. The committee is composed of individuals from the City, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community.

The goal of the committee is to utilize beautification items (such as decorative lighting, banners, flowers, greenery, etc.) to help unify Perham's three retail areas (Main Street, 3rd Avenue, and South district) into one L-shaped retail community.

"Overall, feedback from the business community has been positive," Perham City Manager Kelcey Klemm reported of the response to the city beautification effort. "Members of the business community like the idea and the concept, and understand that there is value in making our "streetscape" attractive."

According to Klemm, one of the first projects the committee tackles will be putting lights in the trees that are located downtown. "Before the leaves come on, we want to wrap the trees with lights," he explained.

The trees would then be fitted with lights year-round. These lights could be turned on during the summer or for special city events such as Turtle Fest.

After the lights have been put on the trees, the next beautification project will focus on the banners that hang from the light poles. More banners will be purchased, in addition to replacing some of the city's older banners.

Some of the improvements proposed by the committee exist in one area or another, but the goal is to make them better and more widespread. This will help create a citywide identity that makes shopping in Perham a memorable experience, as well as a nicer place for local residents.

Ideas that have been discussed include:

- Christmas decorations to be hung from light poles

- Christmas lights to be hung in the decorative curbside trees

- Decorative theme lights such as the antique lights downtown

- Flowerpots and/or shrubs that could be located adjacent to businesses

- Banners that could be hung from light poles on the retail corridors

Raising the money necessary for these improvements is the biggest challenge in making this a successful campaign. The city of Perham might be able to help with some of the funding, for items such as the Christmas lights, but most of the cost will need to be borne by the business community.

At this point, the actual costs aren't known, but it's likely the costs will run into several thousand dollars.

Some of this can be raised through fundraisers. For example, the group is considering selling plastic discount cards, similar to the football card that is sold in the fall. Contacts have been made with the football team to make sure this doesn't create a conflict with their sales.

Area businesses will also need to donate to the beautification effort to make it a success. Direct donations for the project are currently being sought.

The next committee meeting will be held on Friday, April 11 at 10 a.m. in Perham City Hall. Members of the business community and city residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and share their ideas on how to beautify and unify the city of Perham.