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Geneva enters ‘Prettiest Painted Place’ competition

GENEVA – Geneva is among 193 entries from across the nation and six communities in Illinois entered in the “Prettiest Painted Places in America” competition.

Sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, this is the third competition to show an attractive paint color scheme in real-world communities, said Debbie Zimmer, spokeswoman and paint and color expert at the institute.

The previous contests were in 1998 and 2000.

“The competition is about celebrating exterior paints within a community and really looking at how these wonderful large and small towns have worked together to produce a very pretty painted place,” Zimmer said. “We [are] not looking for historic painted ladies. We are looking to celebrate towns that have wonderfully painted buildings, homes as well as commercial buildings within their community.”

Judging has begun, she said.

“We will whittle that 193 down to 60 across the country,” Zimmer said. “After we complete the finalists judging, we will move on and pick the 12 prettiest places in America in mid-October.”

The winners will receive a certificate and will be part of a national publicity campaign showcasing these communities, she said.

“It certainly is a wonderful way to build on community pride,” Zimmer said.

Geneva Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Laura Rush said she and Chamber President Jean Gaines drove around one day, scouting buildings with attractive color schemes.

“We sent them pictures of businesses and homes throughout Geneva that we just felt were really eye-catching,” Rush said. “If we saw something, I jumped out and took a picture. I sent them 15 of what we thought were the best pictures. ... Looking at the colors brought a whole new level of what we have here in Geneva. We have a really beautiful town.”

In 2000, Geneva was a finalist but not a winner, Rush said. If Geneva wins, the Chamber will have to consider how to promote it, she said.

The other Illinois communities in the competition are Aurora, Alton, Woodstock, Galena and Elsah. Other communities range from big-city neighborhoods to rural towns to historic districts, including Cape Cod, Mass., Napa, Calif., Vashon-Maury Island, Wash., and Bell Buckle, Tenn. A complete list of competing communities is available at

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