With a stated goal to help beautify Marion County, members of Operation Image recently delivered some positive reinforcement to a handful of local businesses.

“We gave out approximately 25 different certificates to people throughout the community who we believed have done an outstanding job in maintaining their properties or who are doing something to enhance their properties,” Operation Image chief coordinator Bob Gribben said of a recent awards ceremony held at the Marion County Transit Authority.

The business owners were recognized for the work they’ve done to their properties to make them look nice, and Gribben said the ceremony was well attended. In addition to the transit authority, award recipients included Adams Office Supply, several local banks, Rider Pharmacy, Duck Soup, Nationwide Insurance and the Poky Dot, among others.

“It seemed like the people that received the recognition were appreciative of somebody recognizing and thanking them for their being good neighbors,” Gribben said.

Operation Image also held its monthly progress meeting a couple of weeks ago. Gribben said the group, which is made up of several local volunteers with a mission to beautify the county, is gaining more interest and becoming larger.

And he said one of the main projects members discussed was the fixing up of an historic abutment on Fairmont’s East Side. Gribben said members learned recently that a local business donated the labor to clean up and paint the large concrete structure at the intersection of Merchant Street and Morgantown Avenue.

Currently, the abutment, which once displayed an attractive welcome sign at the East Side entrance of the city, is faded and deteriorating. Operation Image members have been trying to solicit funds for a while to dress up this structure, and Gribben said that it should now be completed by the end of the summer.

Other projects discussed at the recent meeting included a plan to purchase and erect a commemorative flag circle at Morris Park, landscape improvements to the downtown Fairmont area, and the dressing up of another abutment along U.S. Route 250 that is covered in graffiti.

The next meeting scheduled for the group is at 2 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, and Gribben said the public is encouraged to attend.

E-mail Mallory Panuska at mpanuska@timeswv.com.

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