OTTAWA, Kan. - The Paint Quality Institute has announced that Ottawa and Franklin County, Kansas are included among 60 finalists in the “Prettiest Painted Places in America” competition.
Outsiders may be surprised to find out that Ottawans "embrace the use of color as a decorative medium," as the contest describes, but residents say that's because many haven't seen the right parts of town.
If you're wondering why Ottawa was chosen, you probably haven't wandered off the highway to the historic, charming and yes, pretty, Main Street.
Here every little space gets decorated. If they have to put up a screen to hide construction, they paint a mural on it. Empty lots become charming courtyards, and there are flowers on every street corner.
"Just people who have decided to donate their time and their effort into doing this. The city doesn't do it, people maintain these corners which is why they're all a little bit different," explained Ottawan Caren Rugg.
"All the storefront owners ... everybody cares about their property and their buildings and it's a great community," said Francine Leone of the Bella Cucina restaurant.
In Ottawa, they don't wonder why their town was recognized as pretty, they wonder how anybody found out.
The final round of judging in the prettiest places contest is set for next week.
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