Jim Thorpe is one step closer to being named one of the best small towns in the United States by USA Today and Rand McNally.

During the Carbon County commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Jake Arner, who was representing the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce and Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, approached the board to ask for the county's support in clean up efforts of the roadways that lead into Jim Thorpe because the borough was named a finalist in the Most Beautiful category.

Arner said that Route 209 is in great need of sprucing up by picking up the trash and debris that lines the "gateway to our beautiful town."

He said with the efforts of volunteers, county employees, or inmates; as well as police support, the clean up could take place safely before McNally and its crew visits the town later this month.

County officials said they would discuss the matter but some avenues, like using work release inmates to clean up the roadways, don't seem possible because the program is being utilized by other communities at this time.

Arner said that both Jim Thorpe Borough Council, as well as the chambers are in favor of the efforts.

"Anything we can do to promote Jim Thorpe is good," he said.

The Best of the Road contest came about after, according to McNally's blog, "McNally and USA Today teamed up to create a community of road travelers reviewing the best stops on America's highways and byways, from small towns to the points of interest in and between them. ... Every year, Rand McNally and USA Today collect votes for the small towns you think we should visit."

Over 650 towns across the country were nominated and America had the chance to vote in five categories Most Beautiful, Friendliest, Most Fun, Best for Food, and Most Patriotic during the first round of competition. Jim Thorpe received 442 votes in the Most Beautiful category; and 510 votes overall in the five categories combined. This was enough to secure the fourth finalist spot in the category.

Now, McNally and USA Today will visit each of the finalists before naming the 2012 Best Small Towns in the United States.

For more information on the competition or to learn about places to visit, visit http://www.bestoftheroad.com.