WASHINGTON, IA – The Washington Chamber’s Welcome Center is excited to announce that Washington was selected as the statewide 2022 #IowansUnite CommUNITY Contest winner financed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority. With the persistent encouragement from their volunteer and partner, Isabella Santoro, a video was put together with the assistance of Santoro’s uncle, Randy Williams, which qualified Washington to move past the first phase of the contest by receiving over twice the number of votes needed.
The second phase of the contest was to submit a one-page essay on how Washington supports local businesses and how Washington showcases community pride. The Chamber of Commerce received four draft essays but ultimately selected to submit the essay written by Santoro. “It just gives me goosebumps,” Michelle said, “that she was an integral part of both steps that resulted in Washington being selected as the grand prize winner!” Our community spirit showed up in a unique and creative way thanks to the support of our local businesses and volunteers.
When Santoro first learned about the mural contest, she immediately thought, “My town deserves to win this!” Santoro and her uncle jumped at the opportunity. Williams created a one-minute video showcasing Washington’s amenities, small businesses, quality year-round events, and much more. Santoro let her passion and authenticity pour into her essay. ‘Our businesses and residents support each other in a way she has never experienced anywhere else in the world,’ says Santoro.
The next step is working with the Iowa artist, Ben Schuh, to create a 1,500 ft2 custom mural. Although the location has not been determined, it has to be installed in the entrant’s local shopping district or in the downtown area with completion by the end of the year. “I am flattered that this amazing community, I call home, has won this contest and I look forward to seeing the gorgeous new mural in our downtown!” said Santoro.