By Scott Meeker
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Joplin is one of 20 communities named as winners in Benjamin Moore’s “Main Street Matters” contest.
The online contest — which launched on May 16 and concluded June 30 — sought votes for 100 nominated cities in North America to get a facelift from the exterior paint manufacturer. Winners were announced Monday on the company’s website. The prize will include the exterior painting of downtown businesses along a two- to three-block stretch in each city.
According to a news release from Benjamin Moore, the winning cities will receive “the paint and supplies needed for facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims.”
Trisha Patton, executive director of the Downtown Joplin Alliance, coordinated the local effort to turn out the vote for Joplin.
“It’s really exciting,” Patton said Monday. “We were the only city within the Four States able to rally enough votes (to make the top 20).
“We’ll be working with our local Benjamin Moore retailer, Spectrum Paint, in order to actually plan the project and timeline.”
This marked the first year for Benjamin Moore’s “Main Street Matters” contest, and chief marketing officer David Melancon said community interest exceeded expectations.
“I would gauge it as phenomenal,” he said. “There were nearly half a million votes cast, and tons of interest through traditional and social media.”
Besides Joplin, the winning towns included Attleboro, Mass.; Ellicott City, Md.; Flint, Mich.; Greeley, Colo.; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hawley, Pa.; Hilo, Hawaii; Macon, Ga.; Martinez, Calif.; Nyack, N.Y.; Penticton, British Columbia; Placerville, Calif.; Sanford, N.C.; Sea Bright, N.J.; Sheboygan, Wis.; Stouffville, Ontario; Texarkana; Westerly, R.I.; and Xenia, Ohio.
“We’ll be working with retailers in Joplin as well as painting contractors to get the job done,” he said. “In addition, in each community we will be announcing several other partners who will be part of the process ... while others are painting, our partners will be working to revitalize downtown in other ways.”
Melancon said that the company will work with city representatives to identify the area that will be painted, and Benjamin Moore color experts will be consulting on color selections.
“We fully expect to work with some interesting shop owners,” he said. “Someone might want to paint their business purple, while others say, ‘Keep this red brick and just paint the shutters.’
“But this isn’t about us imposing our will. It’s about working with each community to do what’s best for them.”
Patton said that she mainly relied upon social media sites and the alliance’s e-newsletter to help spread the word. In the end, though, she said it was the work of residents who continued to vote for Joplin that helped the city end up among the winners.
“It’s great that Joplin has the pride and community spirit needed to support this project,” she said.
Work is scheduled to begin this summer and continue into next year.