This year the Rotary has decided to direct some of its funds to constructing "Welcome to Sikeston" signs at entrances to Sikeston.
"With the LCRA (Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority) taking action, we decided to put money into cleaning up projects and improving the aesthetics of Sikeston to make it more attractive," noted Steve Williams, member of the Sikeston Rotary Club. "And there's a lot of community pride and spirit in Sikeston."
Founded in 1947, the Sikeston Rotary Club has used its auction for more than 30 years as its primary fund-raiser to help the Rotary Park, Boy and Girl Scouts, academic scholarships, the YMCA and youth baseball and softball prgrams.
"The Rotary has been in Sikeston for over 50 years and has done a lot of good for the community and we've been investing a lot in the Rotary Park, but we just decided to take a different direction," Williams explained.
So the Rotary decided a year or two ago to shift the funding it receives from the Rotary Auction and Rotary Chili Day to focus on making the welcome signs, Williams said.
"We're trying to update with a new project and work on 'Welcome to Sikeston' signs this year," pointed out Steve Deere, who's in charge of the Rotary's public relations.
The Rotary plans to install its first sign near the Wal-Mart in Sikeston on Highway 60. The reason the Rotary chose that area is because it's where a lot of new developments are occurring, Williams explained.
"We'll start there and see how the community responds to it," Williams said, adding he's not sure how many welcome signs will be built in the future.
Deere noted the signs planned for construction aren't simple; there's a lot of depth to them. Although the design is still in preliminary stages, a landscaped "Welcome to Sikeston" sign is being planned.
Rotary members are also hoping more civic groups and organizations will join in their efforts to improve the community, Williams said.
One of the reasons Rotary clubs exist is to improve communities locally and around the world, according to the Rotary International Web Site. And the Sikeston Rotary is working to improve its community.
"Everyone who enters Sikeston is getting a first impression with a 'Welcome to Sikeston' sign. We're hoping to make the design as a way to view the community," Williams noted. Ed Dust, director of economic development for the city of Sikeston, said he's excited about the Rotary's project and thinks it's long overdue for the city.
Dust said, "I think that any good impression on any new individual in the community is a plus for you, and a nice welcome sign conveys you welcome people to your community."