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WJBD - Local News - More Than Two Dozen Groups Discuss Goals During Salem Unity Forum

Mayor John Raymer (left) presents a certificate of appreciation to Dave and Mary Dial for their work on the annual Raccoon Hunts in Salem.

Unity meeting crowd listens to accomplishments and goals of more than two dozen Salem organizations. WJBD General Manager Bruce Kropp served as Master of Ceremonies of the program.

More Than Two Dozen Groups Discuss Goals During Salem Unity Forum

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

More than two dozen groups discussed their accomplishments, plans, and hurdles to cross at the first ever City of Salem Community Wide Planning and Unity Forum Thursday night.

Mayor John Raymer was impressed with the 80 in attendance, noting that is more than one in every 100 people in the city were in attendance. "I think it is good to be aware of how many groups there are in Salem and how many people really want to make our town a better place and are willing to work on it. We did hear some challenges. The biggest challenge I think I heard was continuation of the Little Egypt Festival. We want to keep that because it has been going on 41 years. People love that festival. So we may have to look at some way to give assistance there," said Raymer. "Other things I heard were most organization have the same basic problems. They need some volunteers. They need some money. We may need to take a look at how those organizations work."  Raymer says the challenge will be to make the organizations exciting to join.

The Chair of the Little Egypt Festival Dennis Wilkinson told the group only he and one other volunteer remained for the annual event. He expects to make a decision shortly if the festival would be held this year. Wilkinson feels the city has too many different events vying for attention.

Others discussed plans and dreams, but needed help with financing. The Indoor Aquatics Center is trying to establish a YMCA and is hopeful of offering its first programs later this year. They are trying to raise 8-million dollars for a facility. The Salem Historical Society hopes to get the city council to reconsider its decision and allow a historical museum to be located in the former Bryan Bennett Library building on South Broadway. Salem Soccer is seeing great interest from players, but is being hampered by lack of ground and money to build a complex. The Bryan Bennett Library is currently raising money to make acoustic improvements to the large meeting room. Keep Salem Beautiful is looking for a location for a larger recycling facility.

The Centralia Humane Society has set a goal to establish county wide animal control this year. The Daffy Dill Garden Club is looking toward establishment of a Tribute Garden on the southeast side of the Bryan Statue garden. The tranquil setting would include a waterfall, walkway and bench.

Raymer presented a plaque to David and Mary Dial for their work in bringing the World Coon Hunt to Salem. He also recognized Foster Salvage for their efforts to help the city obtain a method to recycle glass and Judge Michael McHaney for his work with the drug court participants on several city projects.  

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