Making a good first impression

Clean-up aims to beautify Craig, help residents avoid citations

How many citations have code enforcement officers issued since Craig City Council adopted stiffer nuisance policies in April?

Zero.

"We've been going around and talking to people, bringing things to their attention about what they need to do," officer Becky Otis said. "If people will read the ordinance, they'll have an idea of what's in compliance, and we won't have to issue any."

However, the line of demarcation comes next weekend, when Craig residents will have an opportunity to clean up their properties by discarding junk for free. After that, code enforcement officers said violations will be issued.

The weekend of May 20 and 21 is the annual Craig Clean-up.

Residents will have the opportunity to dump things such as old appliances and tires off the rim at Craig City Park from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Usually, it costs $85 to dump an old refrigerator and $4 per tire, the code enforcement officers said.

"I'd like to have great participation. That way, every yard will be clean for barbecues on Memorial Day weekend," Otis said.

Rather than sweeping changes, City Council members adopted three tweaks to the nuisance policies.

They stipulate: grass shall be no longer than 6 inches high; all vehicles are required to be operable, licensed and insured; and signs for things such as yard sales are to be kept off utility poles.

Complete copies of the nuisance policies are available at Craig City Hall and the Craig Police Department.

Improving Craig's aesthetics can have a direct influence on its economic development, business leaders said.

During the Craig Chamber of Commerce annual meeting earlier this week, board members briefly addressed the new nuisance policies and indicated that stiffer regulations could benefit the city by helping attract new businesses. They said that a healthy appearance reverberates back to the community by funneling in additional sales tax revenue.

"We have actually had businesses in the past do a site visit, and one of the things they said is it's not a clean city," Chamber executive director Christina Currie said.

Although Craig has many benefits for potential businesses -- a solid economic climate, good quality of life and supportive residents -- things such as junk cars, unkempt lawns and other nuisance violations can be detractions, Currie said.

"You know what they say, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression," Currie said. "Across the board, you need to be inviting and look inviting."

Josh Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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