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Project hopes to perk up Morris’ main street

MORRIS – Main street in Morris may be getting an upgrade soon.

Between now and August 1, organizers of the Community Pride Project hope to raise $50,000 to implement a “comprehensive community beautification plan for all seasons” that will include new holiday lights and banners and year-round banners with pictures from across Stevens County for Morris' main street.

Organizers also hope to add hanging flower baskets and benches to the area.

“The name really says this is a project that gives everyone in the county an opportunity to have our community reflect the pride that we have in the place that we call home,” said Rhoda Smith, administrative director for the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce.

Although the idea of holiday decorations is not new, the rest of the project encompasses ideas that have been discussed for awhile but not implemented yet, said Carolyn Peterson, tourism and membership director for the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The total impact of the whole project is going to be really great – it's going to fill the need of replacement of some old needs and it's going to enhance and bring some new things forward as well,” said Peterson.

The year-round banners will be full color and feature photographs of scenes from around Stevens County. With 36 total banners along main street, Smith and Peterson said there will be many opportunities to feature difference historic, cultural and natural features of the area.

The campaign has an August 1 deadline so that holiday decorations will be ready for Morris' Grand Parade of Lights on Thursday, Nov. 21. The existing holiday decorations are more than 15 years old and showing their age.

Although the project is being coordinated by the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce, other partners include the city of Morris and a committee of Stevens County residents.

The $50,000 goal is an estimate that includes all of the banners, flowers and benches, along with money for ongoing maintenance like new light bulbs and the brackets needed to hang them.

One long-time community resident has already donated $1,000 and challenged other locals to donate more, said Peterson.

Donations can be dropped off at the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce (215 Atlantic Avenue) or at any of the four local banks in Morris, Bank of the West, Bremer Bank, RiverWood Bank or United Farmers and Merchants State Bank.