An idea proposed by a Corry business owner, which quickly gained communitywide support and funding, has come to life as about 60 orange Beaver banners now welcome visitors and residents to the city's downtown.
The $7,710 project — which has been paid for through individual and business donations, along with a handful of grants — is meant to spark community pride and let visitors know this town is "Corry Proud."
In an email sent to about 100 community leaders and elected officials in April, Joel Cook, co-owner of Corry Preowned Auto Sales, 710 E. Columbus Ave., shared an idea.
Cook wrote how he often travels for work and those travels take him through several neighboring communities. In one particular town, it was evident that its residents were proud of who they are.
"The gas station had a big sign that said 'Home of the Cardinals,'" Cook's email read. "The eye doctor's office had a banner out front and the front window was decorated. But, when I drove through our downtown this morning, I struggled to find any orange and black. I didn't see any Corry Beaver banners or anything really letting me know that I am in the heart of Corry Beaver country and this town is proud of its orange and black."
Cook nominated himself and asked for support from anyone else who would join him in an effort to establish hometown pride.
In addition to business owners and individuals who immediately responded that they would be willing to help, Corry Industrial Benefit Association Director Rick Novotny, who is also the executive director of the Corry Redevelopment Authority and Erie County Redevelopment Authority, got on board.
"When Joel sent out that email, I knew what he was talking about," Novotny said. "I remember going through there and thinking, 'Wow, that's pretty cool.' It's not a very expensive undertaking to show pride in our own community."
Novotny began helping Cook coordinate the financial end of the project, which is being paid for through community efforts. In addition to 60 orange banners, the total cost includes hardware to erect the banners, and 12 orange Beaver logo flags that will be hung most likely in the outskirts of the city to welcome visitors.
"We were hoping to have these up before CorryFest and alumni weekend," said Novotny, who was referring to this weekend's activities. "Sometimes it's the small things you do that get the most attention."
The vision of the project as it goes forward is to rotate the flags in an effort to support other staple business or organizations of the community, Novotny said.
"We are hoping we can get some other groups and businesses to come together and create different themes for the flags," he said. "We could put the flags on a six-month rotation."
Cook said he is very pleased with the community's efforts in helping to get this project off the ground.
"We want to blanket the town," he said. "The goal is to keep going with this."
Anyone wanting to make a donation or get involved may contact Cook at 964-7142 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.