(Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Sikeston's code enforcement division is asking business owners to go the extra step with exterior maintenance.
"We're not sending letters, we're not making phone calls; we're visiting and asking them to take a little pride in their business," said Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator.
On Tuesday, Tom Burns, code enforcement officer, started at Malone at Main and worked his way east visiting businesses and asking them to take care of weeds around their buildings or grass growing up through cracks in lots and sidewalks. "Jasper's was my last stop yesterday," Burns said.
With the rodeo only about two weeks away and the Rodeo Parade to take place on Aug. 4, residents can expect out-of-town visitors to begin showing up next week.
Code enforcers are not asking much, Hardy said: "Nothing more than to take care of their property -- for not only the city's sake, but for their own business."
"It sure sets a good example and makes the town look better," Mayor Mike Marshall said. "Everybody needs to do their part."
"You would think a business owner would want to keep it in the utmost condition to attract business," said Jamie Williams, code enforcement officer.
"You want your exterior to be just as enticing as your interior," Hardy agreed. "We have a great number of businesses that take care of their property, but it makes those that don't stick out even more."
Hardy said it seems as if some business owners will step over weeds 2-3 inches tall growing from cracks in the sidewalk to enter their business without considering their customers are doing the same thing -- and what kind of impression that makes on them.
"It detracts from the whole business," Marshall said. "Some business owners are so close to it they don't notice it."
Burns said lawn areas are generally maintained well by businesses -- it is usually the areas that aren't landscaped such as sidewalks and other concrete areas -- that have unsightly weeds as services they hire to maintain the landscaped areas don't address those areas.
In some cases, business owners may spray frontal areas but have tall weeds in back or along the side that need to be chopped down.
"Every business is making some effort. I would just like them to take it to the next level," Hardy said.
For those who are willing to put out the extra effort with rodeo week approaching, Hardy has an additional challenge: "How do we carry that momentum through the year? Not just for the rodeo, not just for the Cotton Carnival."
"We have a city we want to look good year-round," Williams agreed.
Code enforcement officials added that in addition to keeping the city looking good, getting weeds out of the gutters helps storm water drain faster and keeps mosquito populations lower.