Peabody brings home 3 state awards

Peabody Main Street Association was the recipient of three Kansas Main Street Awards of Excellence during the annual Main Street Symposium Banquet on Thursday in Emporia.

The banquet capped off the last official event sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Commerce who shut down the state revitalization program in a surprise move Sept. 20, saying the effort would help meet tightened budget constraints.

“It was a bittersweet event, but there was a strong desire to recognize those people and projects that have helped shape and influence our Main Streets this past year,” said Shane Marler, executive director of the Peabody Main Street Association. “We would have found a way to have the awards ceremony whether the commerce department stepped up or not. Peabody has every reason to be proud of our Main Street Association achievements as we continue to improve our town.”

Former Kansas Main Street state coordinator Mary Helmer and Todd Barman, senior program officer for the National Trust Main Street Center, took turns announcing the award categories and winners as a slideshow of photos of the people and projects flashed on two big screens.

Peabody resident Debra Lilly was awarded the Kansas Community Award for her contributions to Peabody’s local program. The award highlights volunteer efforts that go “above and beyond” in Kansas communities.

“Lilly is always willing to help with any Main Street project,” Marler said. “She has been a good volunteer for each of the committees. When discussing Lilly’s nomination, the board members agreed they couldn’t think of a time when she refused to help.”

Peabody’s local program also received the Volunteer Development Award for its efforts in 2011. With more than 2,000 volunteer hours contributed to the program last year alone, the award spotlights the community’s willingness to give back and reinvest in itself.

Peabody Economic Development Committee also was honored with the award for downtown business development.

“2011 was a great year for Peabody economic development,” said Marler. “Through lots of hard work we were able to establish five new businesses and local investment of nearly half a million dollars. Those numbers are incredible for a community of less than 1,300 citizens.”

Peabody Main Street Association has been a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization specializing in community development since 1989.

“Regardless of cuts at the state level, Peabody Main Street Association will continue to be the driving force in the development of Peabody, Kansas,” Marler said.

 

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