Nehring names winners of first-ever 'Pride of Marysville' awards

From left, Zed and Jan Long receive this year
From left, Zed and Jan Long receive this year's 'Best Home/Pride of the Neighborhood' award from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.
— image credit: Courtesy photo.

MARYSVILLE — Homeowners with a well-kept house and yard, a stalwart real estate business that shines with curb appeal, and a trendsetting office building in the downtown district were recently honored by Marysville's Mayor and City Council, as recipients of the first-ever "Pride of Marysville" neighborhood improvement awards.

The city of Marysville invited the public to nominate their favorite homes and businesses around town starting in March, and the nominees were judged on visual enhancement, preservation of the character of their neighborhoods, and improvements to buildings and landscaping, according to city officials, who received 20 nominations.

"We didn't have to look far to find 'role model' homes and businesses that embody the 'Pride of Marysville' award program's goals," said Mayor Jon Nehring, who initiated the new award program. "These recipients' efforts reflect well on our community, enhancing Marysville's appearance, and hopefully will inspire others to do the same."

Reviewing the nominations was a selection committee whose members included Nehring, City Council member Michael Stevens, city Parks Director Jim Ballew, Public Information Officer Doug Buell and citizen at-large Cheryl Deckard.

This year's winners were:

• Jan and Zed Long for "Best Home/Pride of the Neighborhood," awarded to a home that is consistently well-kept, with manicured lawns and colorful landscapes, or enhanced with new paint, landscaping or other significant aesthetic improvements. According to the committee, the Long home on Ninth Street near Totem Middle School incorporates all of these assets.

• Windermere Real Estate for "Best Business," awarded to the business site conveying the most curb appeal, through attractive landscaping and building exteriors, and an overall well-kept appearance.

• The Jong Kwak office building, at Third Street and State Avenue, for the "Mayor's Choice" James Comeford Award, which is named after Marysville's visionary town founder and original trading post operator, and is presented to the most-improved home or business in the downtown or waterfront district.

According to Nehring, the traits that helped the Longs' house stand out were that the look they adopted, the renovations and improvements they made with the addition of landscaping, covered porches and an outdoor seating area, and the upkeep they continue to this day, all of which Nehring believes are within reach for many other homeowners in the community.

"This could be any home on any street around Marysville," Nehring said. "The Longs raised the bar in their neighborhood."

Nehring applauded Windermere Real Estate at Eighth Street and State Avenue, after they garnered the "Best Business" honors for 2012.

"What you see with Windermere's building is probably the best example of curb appeal throughout the entire State Avenue corridor," Nehring said. "The architecture is beautiful, the paint color choices work very well, and above all, the landscaping is very Northwest and creative. As one nominator said, 'It's a feast for the eyes.'"

The selection committee agreed. When the city completed the State Avenue road improvement and beautification project from First through Eighth streets nearly a decade ago, the design was intended to inspire businesses to spruce up their own frontage.

"Windermere went over the top when they created a design and landscaping plan that blends perfectly with the State Avenue improvements," Nehring said. "It's hard to tell where ours begin and theirs end."

The final award for "Mayor's Choice" was bestowed on Jong Kwak, with Edmonds-based Kwakson LLC in Edmonds, for his office building at the corner of Third Street and State Avenue, across from Hilton Pharmacy.

"Mr. Kwak took an aging building in the city's downtown district and made it a trendsetter for other businesses to follow," Nehring said.

Kwak's building was the first to apply the city's revised downtown design standards. According to Nehring, the building's exceptional use of stonework façade, and of browns and dark reds, is a welcome addition to one of the city's key intersections downtown.

"I believe, and the committee believed, that for all the focus we are putting on downtown revitalization, and on encouraging downtown residents and businesses to maintain more attractive exteriors and frontage, we can't think of a better recipient for this award," said Nehring, who also asserted that Kwak should commended for stepping up and taking on such a major building facelift during tough economic times.

The James Comeford Award is named after the original town founder who, even back in the 1800s, was talking about the need for waterfront and downtown development. This award goes to an improved downtown or waterfront property, whether a home or business, and is chosen by the Marysville Mayor. The area is generally defined as from the waterfront north to Ninth Street, and from I-5 and Ash Avenue east to Alder Avenue.

Winners were presented with individual wall plaques, and will also receive decorative yard markers to affix in their yards or landscaping, or on their buildings, to share their accolades with passing pedestrians and motorists.

Nehring explained that a general lack of cleanliness around the community and downtown is a concern that has been raised at community meetings, and at City Council and director retreats. City officials have resolved to launch more concerted cost-efficient cleanup efforts in the downtown and waterfront area, such as road re-striping, painting and roadside right-of-way maintenance, and Nehring cited this spring's "Clean Sweep Week" as but one example of those efforts.

"The 'Pride of Marysville' awards are viewed as one solution toward creating a cleaner, more attractive community," Nehring said.

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