NORWICH – The Evening Sun and Norwich Building Tomorrow Foundation have announced winners of the 2020 Home Beautification Contest.
The aim of the project is to improve the quality of life in the City of Norwich and reward those in the community who are actively investing in improvements for family homes.
First place was awarded to Chris Lockwood, who received $5,000 for major work done at 46 Conkey Ave. Second Place, for $3,000, was awarded to Jim McNeil and Dixie Cooper for work at 12 Eric Street. Third Place, for $2,000, went to Zach Hall for work at 29 Hickok Ave. Fourth Place, for $1,000, went to Pat Darling for work at 154 East Main Street. Two honorable mentions received $250: John Williams for work at 150 Canasawacta Street and Cynthia Izard for work at 20 Hayes Street.
The framework for this contest mirrors the Home Beautification Contest first made popular by Smith Ford Norwich back in the 1990s. The original contest was designed with an eye toward encouraging and supporting local pride of home ownership by recognizing those who made the most noteworthy improvements to their residence.
The foundation and The Evening Sun resurrected this successful campaign in 2019.
“We are very proud of our community and want to help those working to make it better. Thank you to the Norwich Building Tomorrow Foundation for helping make this possible. We enthusiastically support the foundation’s goal in helping to make the City of Norwich a better place to live,” said Richard Snyder, Publisher of The Evening Sun.
The first place winner, Chris Lockwood, spent months implementing his home improvements on Conkey Ave.
“Originally when I got the house I didn't know about the contest but our neighbors kept telling us and reaching out to us, they actually brought us an application. So thank you to them,” said Chris.
He purchased the home through a program offered by the City of Norwich that helps families buy new homes.
“I bought the house through the City of Norwich RFP Package. They want to know what people's intention is over a house, so they can control what happens in city limits. The whole idea is to get more family-owned homes. And they helped us,” said Chris.
Working with his partner Sarah Hunter, the couple completely reworked the exterior of the home and built an addition on it, about doubling the size of the home.
Chris works as private contractor, with 30 years of experience, running his own business Lockwood Home Improvement. The couple worked on the home in between their regular jobs, often waiting to buy materials when they were on sale or at auctions.
The couple wanted to raise their family near the Norwich schools.
“We wanted a together home, a new family home. That's why we picked this right across from the school. Unfortunately the streets in Norwich are hit and miss,” said Sarah
“It's a nice community and you want people to stay here long term. The people who make a long term investment in where they live. Hopefully if people do this little by little we get a nicer community,” said Chris.
He said owning a home was difficult for many families in the area. He said by using local programs, buying only materials at a discount, doing the work himself and with the contest winnings, he saved about 90 percent on costs.
“It's not easy but it you really, really want it, it can be done,” he said.
A panel of five judges considered a number of contest submissions. The dedication and work reviewed in the contest and the quality of home improvements, all done by the owners themselves, was impressive.
The judges looked at exterior improvements only, with an emphasis on those properties undergoing the most significant exterior renovations which improve not only the residence but positively impact the neighborhood as well.
Examples of improvements reviewed included new expansions, siding, exterior painting, roofing, doors and windows, shutters, landscaping and exterior lighting.
The contest has become an annual tradition supported by community sponsors working in partnership with The Norwich Building Tomorrow Foundation and The Evening Sun.
The contest will be held again next year.
The Norwich Building Tomorrow Foundation is a local not-for-profit with a mission to improve the quality of life in the City of Norwich, primarily through seeking opportunities to improve and preserve housing and other property development opportunities.