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Residents asked to point out favorites

Love that walking trail winding through Highlands Park? Think the old, red Cottage View Drive-In is a city landmark? Is there a great vista your neighbors need to know about?

Cottage Grove city officials want to know too. And with the new Points of Pride program, they want to spread the word.

The city last month kicked off an effort they hope will identify and better advertise the favorites of Cottage Grove residents, whether it's a preferred golf course hole, business or community event.

"We thought it might build community pride, but also we saw it as kind of internal marketing," said city administrator Ryan Schroeder. It represents "an opportunity for people within the community, or people who visit the community, to talk about what they like."

Schroeder says he came across numerous similar programs in cities all across the country while surfing the Internet, and said he believes it's a great way to build awareness of the amenities available in Cottage Grove.

The Points of Pride program works like this: anyone can nominate a landmark, event or attraction to be named a Point of Pride (a full list of businesses, city parks, buildings, gardens and events is available on the city's Web site, by picking up a form at city hall or printing one off the Cottage Grove's Web site.

Nominees can be submitted by residents through Dec. 15, and officials urge residents to use the essay portion of the entry form, giving city staff a paragraph describing why their neighbors should be proud of the place or thing.

"Don't just say, 'I like this trail,'" said management analyst Ken Smith, who's heading up the Points of Pride project. "Tell us why, because the devil's in the details."

And, Smith said, multiple entries are accepted and encouraged.

After the nomination window is closed, Schroeder said city council members will create a committee to judge the entries. The city administrator said there is no predetermined number of winners; that, he said, depends on the number and quality of entries.

Then, Cottage Grove's first Points of Pride should be announced by late-January, Schroeder said.

Officials hope the Points of Pride will become an annual event and Schroeder said he believes it has a real chance to build more community spirit in Cottage Grove.

"It's all kind of the same idea, to encourage awareness of one's hometown," he said, "and to kind of enunciate those kinds of things residents feel we should all be proud of."

For more information on Points of Pride, go to

Jon Avise can be reached at