(C. Proxmire, Nov. 3, 2012)
The Downtown Development Authority hosted its annual Appreciation Awards on Oct. 29, recognizing volunteers, business owners and others work to keep the community thriving. These awards, given for 2011, were voted on via an on-line survey of Downtown Ferndale businesses, residents and visitors. The Awards ceremony was held at the new Local Kitchen and Bar.
Among the winners for the 2011 awards are:
Best Façade Improvement: The Rust Belt Market
Best Landscaping/Al Fresco Space: Local Kitchen and Bar!
Best New Signage: Rust Belt Market
Best New Independent Retailer: The Rust Belt Market
Your Best New Independent Service Business: FernCare Free Clinic
Favorite Best New Independent Restaurant/Bar/Club: Valentine Distilling Co.
Here are some of those who were recognized, along with what the DDA had to say about them:
Tom Pearlman. “Tom has long been a champion of Downtown Ferndale. A business owner, major landlord, former DDA Board Member and philanthropist, Tom is responsible for many of Downtown Ferndale’s public art murals and just this year donated the dog waste bag dispensers you see all around town”.
Shaun Slocum of the Ferndale DPW. “Shaun is the DDA’s “go-to” guy for just about anything you can imagine. From creatively dealing with dumpster “issues” to figuring out how to block out the street lights to make outdoor movie night a success, Shaun has the answers & know-how.”
Sherry Wells. “Sherry Wells, or Fern Dale, as she’s become known is a fixture in Ferndale: in the neighborhoods, at City Council meetings, with community groups, and, of course in the Downtown. Over the course of the last year, Sherry has made an effort to support Downtown Ferndale even more!
John Sauve: “John Sauve and the Sauve Art Foundation brought us ARTWN – the 11 amazing public art sculptures installed around Downtown Ferndale. John truly goes above and beyond his job as a curator, always with a smile and a “can-do” attitude – and he certainly delivered! He’s an honorary Downtown Ferndalian.”
Detroit Institute of Arts/Michelle Hauske: “Downtown Ferndale was lucky not once, but twice in being chosen to participate in the DIA’s Inside/Out project, which brings DIA masterpieces to cities. Michelle worked tirelessly to ensure the installation of the art – and all the related paperwork that went with it! – as well as being an integral part of the ARTWN program tours!”
Service Awards were also given to volunteers:
Mary Frances Kilcoyne: “sold us a copier and ended up as a volunteer! A Ferndale resident, Mary Frances is an active member of the Organization Committee always ready, willing and able to lend a hand – or her husband’s services.”
Michelle Foster: “was one of the few, the proud, the Business Development Committee! Michelle’s input and knowledge in urban and economic planning made her an invaluable member of the team! Michelle recently left us to launch the next stage of her career in Traverse City. We will certainly miss her, but know she will be back to visit – often!”
Scott Wright: “has been a member of the Design Committee for 10 years. His background as a contractor/builder and his extensive knowledge, enthusiasm and hands-on approach have helped lead this committee. Scott has worked on the design guidelines, streetscape improvements, building façade improvements and the ARTWN event – helping chose locations, install sculptures and ensure everyone had a great time at ARTWN – The Event!”
DDA Board member John McQuiggin: “has set the bar this year for take-charge leadership! As an active member of the Parking Committee, he has been instrumental in bringing parking in Downtown Ferndale into the 21st century and as the newest addition to the DDA Executive Board, we know he’ll continue to have a positive impact. Plus, you should see his moves on the dance floor!”
Sandy Koelzer: “takes volunteerism to a whole other level! Volunteering with too many organizations to mention, at every event imaginable throughout the area, sometimes multiple events in a single weekend, Sandy is ALWAYS available to help out at DDA events – usually for the entire length of a multi-day event, and often recruiting other volunteers along the way. Her cheerful demeanor ensure that visitors to Downtown Ferndale events always have a great time!”
Daniel Behnke and Jacquelyn Cutright – of Elegance by Design: “We present them as a team because that’s what they are, the dynamic duo who last year said “let there be light”. Not only did they come up with a great idea, they visited merchants, measured windows, in some cases, actually installed strands of lights to increase the West Nine lumens by 1000s! This spring, you may have noticed their creative vibe was interjected in everything about ARTWN Small Plates/Big Art, the DDA”s new spectacular signature fundraiser.”
The Volunteer Award was presented with much fanfare to Andrea Johns. “There are many titles we could bestow upon our next recipient. Survivor — A tree fell on her house. Miss Never Give Up – Her car broke down, then her bike was stolen! Dog’s Best Friend – she is an undeterred rescuer of abandoned canines.
“All of the aforementioned happened even as Andrea Johns took on the task of chairperson of Fido Does Ferndale. With a mighty effort and a surprisingly calm demeanor, Andrea saved this event from extinction by tweaking its personality; gathering a group of dog-loving volunteers and making sure all tasks were executed, as directed. As a result, Fido 2012 was a great success, showcasing and servicing man’s best friend, raising funds for the Fido Fountain and proving that size doesn’t matter when it comes to doing a doggone good job.
Veronica Lugic of State of the Art was also recognized. Jerome Raska said “There are words and phrases that come to mind when I think of Veronica. Veronica has lead by example, not asking any of us to do what she wouldn’t do herself. Veronica is dedicated, dedicated to the City, the Community and the businesses in the Ferndale DDA. Veronica proudly wears her heart on her sleeve, and is the face and heart of Downtown Ferndale.”
The Ferndale DDA itself was the recipient of Main Street Oakland County Awards including:
Main Street Volunteer of the Year: Dean Bach
Outstanding Public Improvement Project – DDA Wayfinding Project
Most Unique Business Concept: Rust Belt Market
Even more longstanding are;
Woodward Avenue Brewers – 15 Years
Record Collector – 15 Years
Dr. Harvey Lefkowitz/Michigan Foot & Ankle – 30 Years
To learn more about the DDA and all that Downtown Ferndale has to offer, check out www.downtownferndale.com.