ASHTABULA — For the second year in a row, Bridge Street is in the top 25 of the America’s Main Streets contest, sponsored by the national small business movement, Independent We Stand.

The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 28 and the winner will be announced June 4, with a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration July 4, when the winner will announce how the $25,000 in prize money will be spent, according to the contest website.

“The historic Ashtabula Harbor is very excited to advance to the top 25,” said Christine Seuffert, president of the Lift Bridge Community Association. “We need everyone’s vote, every day until May 27. In it to win.”

More than 117,000 votes were cast for 303 locations during the nomination phase of the contest. The only other Ohio community in the top 25 is Cedar Lee in Cleveland Heights.

Area residents are encouraged to help Bridge Street advance toward the grand prize by voting online at now through May 27, Seuffert said.

City Manager Jim Timonere said it’s nice to see the support for this community.

“Melinda McNutt has done a tremendous job marketing this campaign along with the leadership from the LBCA,” he said. “I cannot thank all those involved enough for voting and getting us to the top 25. Hopefully, we can pull it off this year.”

McNutt enrolled Bridge Street in the online contest last year after hearing about it at Cleveland State University. She is hopeful Ashtabula will win the top prize of $25,000 this year.

“We had a lot of fun competing last year and watching Bridge Street place in the top 5,” she said. “The contest winner is based on total votes, and last year we entered the contest nearly 60 days after the start of the competition.”

This year, Bridge Street was amongst the first to have a

nomination accepted, said McNutt, who also serves on the Lift Bridge Community Association board.

If Bridge Street wins the $25,000 grand prize, it will help complete several beautification projects already in the works, including an anchor project and signage, Seuffert said.

McNutt urges residents to go to the website and vote every day.

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