Say cheese! Main Street Wellington wins $25K prize

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Submitted photo
Wellington residents “Paint the Town Proud,” sprucing up the downtown area. They’ll be able to continue painting with a $25,000 prize from the America’s Main Streets Contest.

STAFF REPORT

The $25,000 grand prize in the America’s Main Streets Contest has been won by the beautiful town of Wellington.

Historic Herrick Avenue will benefit after local voters helped Main Street Wellington beat 232 entrants to take the grand prize.

The “cheese” sign atop the Horr-Warner Cheese Company building will be restored with the prize money, preserving the village’s proud past as the Cheese Capital of the World.

It hearkens back to the day when more than 40 factories produced cheese and shipped it all over the world.

“We know the Herrick Avenues of America help build a sense of place in their communities and are home to countless small, locally owned businesses,” said Bill Brunell, co-founder of Independent We Stand, which ran the contest. “They are also, oftentimes, rich in history. Independent We Stand wants to help draw attention to these special places and recognize their economic impact. This contest is a chance to share those stories.”

In addition to restoring the cheese sign, Main Street Wellington will use the $25,000 prize to continue its “Paint the Town Proud” program, created in 2018 to spruce up the downtown area.

The program offers paint and supply grants to businesses to refresh their facades.

Main Street plans to add signage downtown to help celebrate the history of Herrick Avenue while also directing visitors to free public parking so they can enjoy local shops, restaurants, and events.

“We are proud of our heritage and of our recent business growth and embrace the opportunity for additional growth and improvement,” said Jenny Arntz, director of Main Street Wellington. “We believe so much in the Wellington community and are touched by its support in the ‘America’s Main Streets’ contest. The impact of this honor and prize will be visible and greatly appreciated by many.”

To celebrate, a “Main Streets Make Us Better” event will be held July 3 in conjunction with the annual Patriots Band and ice cream social.

Independent We Stand plans to make a giant check presentation there and celebrate the Fourth of July with the folks of Wellington.

The presenting sponsor of this year’s contest is Stihl Inc., seller of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment.