Spring cleaning is an essential part of community development and now is the time to plan those projects that will make your community shine this summer—and help attract new businesses and new neighbors.
One project to consider is Paint-South Dakota, the SD Housing Development Authority program that provides the materials for volunteers to paint a house for a neighbor in need. Individuals or organizations nominate a house that needs painting, pick a Saturday in June to do the job and apply to Paint-South Dakota by April 13. In the past 20 years, over 500 South Dakota homes have been painted, with 9,801 gallons of paint and primer applied by 7,346 volunteers. For more information or to apply to the program, go to www.sdhda.org/social-programs/paint-south-dakota.html.
By now, city governments have infrastructure improvement projects on the calendar and property owners with vacant buildings or land for sale are looking ahead to the building season. But what about some of the public spaces that are easy to overlook? Check out the “gateways” to your community. What do visitors—or potential employers—see when they drive into town? What about your town’s signage—is it time to update or add a welcome sign? There are so many little things, often invisible to local residents, that visitors and prospective business owners see immediately—and use to gauge a community’s potential.
You can also use spring cleaning as a springboard for community involvement, participation and renewed “ownership” by residents. Organize a community spring cleaning day, with citizens of all ages pitching in to “pick up, paint and clean up” your hometown. Get community leaders and local media on board and the word will spread quickly. You’ll share your sense of community pride, improve the looks of your hometown and get ready for summer visitors—and potential new business hostings!
By Nick Fosheim, Executive Director, Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations
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