28 Sep Hotel Garners Orchid | AmeriSuites Honored By Peoria City Beautiful
NEWSPAPER: PEORIA JOURNAL STAR
AUTHOR: SHANNON COUNTRYMAN
PEORIA — It took lots of work, but Rex Amsler finally got the flower he wanted for his hotel.
Amsler, manager of Ameri- Suites Hotel on Lake Avenue, adorned the hotel’s entrances and exits with a variety of flowers and kept the shrubs, trees and bushes well-maintained.
The beautification effort earned AmeriSuites a 2002 Peoria City Beautiful Orchid Award.
“It’s a great honor,” Amsler said Wednesday. “We, in conjunction with our local partner, Les Cohen, had been shooting for it (an Orchid) for a couple of years.”
The hotel is one of four Orchid recipients, an annual award that recognizes city businesses and organizations for exceptional efforts in landscaping and site beautification.
The Orchid winners are among 14 Peoria businesses and organizations that will be honored today at Peoria City Beautiful’s 47th annual awards luncheon. Others winning the top award are Bethany Baptist Church, J.C. Proctor Endowment Home and OSF St. Francis Center for Health.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Onion Award, given to businesses whose property is considered unsightly by Peoria City Beautiful.
This year’s sole recipient was Auto Mower/Invisible Fence, a business at 2713 West- lake Lane that sells pet containment fences.
Owners of that business could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But Richard Jacobs, an installer who works there, said the owners rent the property, across from Northwoods Mall, and the business has been there about a year.
According to Sue Dewey, administrative coordinator for Peoria City Beautiful, the business won the dubious award because of weeds around it and in conjunction with its highly visible location near the mall.
Jacobs, however, said beautification expenses are not in the business’s rental contract, so the business is not responsible for landscaping projects though efforts are made to keep the weeds cut down.
Dewey praised the Orchid winners. She called the back of OSF St. Francis Center for Health in Northwest Peoria a “tranquil, peaceful, healing place” with a pond as its centerpiece.
Dewey also complimented the back of the J.C. Proctor Endowment Home, where nearby residents volunteer to maintain a “breathtaking” garden.
Nominations for the awards were made by the public in June. Fifty were noted for beautification awards and 25 were nominated for Onions.
A Peoria City Beautiful committee visits the nominated sites for the beautification awards and votes on the winners. Nominees for the Onion are sent a notification letter, and are given time to make enough improvements be removed from consideration, according to Dewey.
“We just want to recognize and give a pat on the back to businesses who have done a really exceptional job of making the property look beautiful,” Dewey said.
Six properties also have won Beautification Awards, honoring other businesses that have done an excellent job landscaping and maintaining their property.
Two Building Beautification Awards will be presented to businesses that have done an exceptional job restoring and renovating older buildings. Two Continued Maintenance Awards will be given to previous Orchid Award winners who have continued to maintain their property in outstanding condition.
Businesses can only win an Orchid once every five years.