NEW STRAITSVILLE — With residents staying home and social distancing during these uncertain times, the Village of New Straitsville is trying to keep spirits high as they award locals with the best yard setup of the month.

In the southern part of Perry County, a group of locals have established a committee looking to keep the area beautiful and welcoming to visitors and travelers. Keep New Straitsville Beautiful is a 12 committee-member group that is affiliated with Southeast Ohio Keep America Beautiful Committee.

For Laura Warren, she has been with the committee from the start as she and others assist in generating and promoting community pride events. Joe Maroon serves as the chair of the committee and in the past has pushed for a contest for local homeowners to participate in.

For area residents like Maroon and Warren, keeping the community tidy and clean is the main goal. One of the community projects being pushed in recent years is the idea of awarding locals with the best yard for a month during the warm seasons.

“We vote for the people that come on so we know that they are going to be good people,” Warren told The Perry County Tribune. “We get our stuff done.”

In May of 2020, the first Yard of the Month was awarded to Mike and Theresa Snyder-Kan. Both were highlighted on the Keep New Straitsville Beautiful Committee Facebook page.

The property that was nominated and awarded showed how the couple was able to transform a little home into a showplace. According to the committee, Theresa credits all the hard labor to her brother, Darrell.

“The landscaping is stunning and when the lilies are in bloom it is absolutely gorgeous,” the committee wrote on its Facebook post.

The committee added that it received 12 nominations for the Yard of the Month for May. The committee encourages everybody to keep up the yard work in order to make the area more appealing for residents and those passing through the quaint Village.

Warren commented that more and more locals have been participating in the Yard of the Month contest recently. As neighbors nominate each other, more neighbors have been enticed to clean up their properties during the time of coronavirus (COVDI-19).

“When you put that out there and you see what people are doing… that was the whole point of doing the Yard of the Month… it kind of makes you jumpstart to do something in your own yard,” Warren explained.

Warren is neighbors with Theresa and Mike and commented how she would always see them cleaning up or doing work out in their yards.

“I keep my yard pretty nice too but I see her out there doing something, and I feel like I need to go out there and do something,” Warren stated.

She added that people have become competitive with the Yard of the Month award especially during these uncertain times.

The Yard of the Month is not the only project that the committee pushes for. According to Warren, the purpose of the committee is to instill community pride by organizing Village cleanups and other celebratory events throughout the year. Due to the state’s orders on large gatherings, some events and projects have been canceled; except for the Yard of the Month.

Keep New Straitsville Beautiful Committee is just one small group out of a national affiliate organization titled Keep America Beautiful. The overseeing organization’s main mission is to take action everyday to inspire and educate people to improve their community environment.

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