A local team of Hawley Borough and Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP) representatives will help guide the process as brushes start applying Benjamin Moore paint downtown.
Hawley was one of 20 towns chosen across the United States and Canada in a major promotion by Benjamin Moore & Co. Based in Montvale, NJ, the company is seeking to highlight the vitality and relevance of downtown business districts in small towns across the continent.
Excitement for the project was expressed at the Hawley Council meeting, July 10th, two days after the selection was announced.
Mary Sanders, Council Vice-president, pointed out that the number of people who voted for Hawley must have been impressive indeed, given that Hawley has the least population (1,211) among the 20 chosen communities. Other winners included Flint, Michigan (102,434), Macon, Georgia (155,547) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (390,096).
Simon Knox, Project Manager for DHP, said the voting "went viral" with word spreading quickly. "A lot of people love Hawley," he said.
According to Nick Harris, Vice-president of Marketing for Benjamin Moore, Hawley was pre-selected by the firm among the hundreds of thousands of small towns where there is a main street to paint and a Benjamin Moore dealer is in close proximity.
From that number, 100 were picked for the contest which began in late May, inviting the public to vote online through June 30. Harris said they were not disclosing the number of votes any one town received, but said Hawley had a strong push from its fans from the start.
Working closely with local borough and business officials, the company is focusing on painting commercial businesses within a "two or three block area," said Harris. Exactly where they would be is up to the local officials to give guidance and work out which properties will be done, he said.
There is no cost to the participant, Harris assured. Benjamin Moore is planning to hire local painting contractors, who will likely submit a bid or picked in what ever way the local officials deem fair. The firm will also work with local Benjamin Moore dealers for the supplies.
Knox said they are waiting for clarification from Benjamin Moore to know if there are any restrictions to what sort of buildings apply or how the properties will be picked. He would like to know if brick buildings, if not painted, would be eligible to receive application of a sealer.
On Wednesday, he said, a video was made of the downtown area as requested by Benjamin Moore. Knox included the business area of Keystone Street and Church Street as well as Main Avenue, with hopes they will be included.
Page 2 of 3 - Knox expressed thanks to everyone who voted for Hawley.
Harris stated that he local team will receive materials related to the project boxed, of course, in a paint can.
Knox stated that in the coming months, a group representing our town will be collaborating with a team from Benjamin Moore that will include a Benjamin Moore independent paint dealer, professional designers and color experts, and local painting contractors. The areas to be painted will be determined jointly with Benjamin Moore, and future press-releases will explain the process by which buildings will be nominated.
DHP's Façade Grant Committee as well as Council members and Mayor Kevin Hawk are involved with the Hawley Main Street Matters Team.
Knox said that this group will be meeting in the next week to discuss their next steps, and will communicate to the community any new information from Benjamin Moore. "Your voice, ideas and suggestions regarding this project are valuable to us," Knox stated in a press release. He invited the community to stay in touch through the Downtown Hawley Partnership Facebook page.
The company will provide advice on color schemes, while respecting the wishes and interest of the local business community as well as town ordinances. Harris said that some communities are sensitive about protecting their historic appeal, while others "go with a more ambitious palette."
Sanders commented that the opportunity from Benjamin Moore is voluntary for local merchants; they won't have to do anything they don't want to do.
Working with local towns and building up their main streets is core to Benjamin Moore's philosophy, Harris stated. "We believe in Main Street retailers and people that shop there," he said. "It's not just about shopping. Main Street is vital to any community... they have shown tremendous resilience in a difficult economy."
He said that Benjamin Moore hops to be part of an ongoing movement of downtown revitalization They are already committed to conducting the "Main Street Matters" contest again in 2014.
Benjamin Moore hopes to have the majority of the projects in the 20 towns completed in 2013, depending on the weather. Harris said that Benjamin Moore & Co. would love there to be some sort of local celebration at the end highlighting the freshly painted commercial area, and welcomes any input from the citizens and business owners.
If you would like to contact the Hawley Main Street Matters Team, please email your requests or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to PO Box 584, Hawley, PA 18428. For more information about Main Street Matters, please visit their website at www.paintwhatmatters.com or www.paintwhatmatters.ca. The Hawley Borough Council website is www.hawleyborough.org/ and the Downtown Hawley Partnership website is www.visithawleypa.com.
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