Monday, November 20, 2006

Elgin Receives Three Awards for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn concluded the 13th Annual Illinois Main Street Downtown Revitalization conference November 14 and 15 held in Waukegan with the Lieutenant Governor Awards for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization. The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) with Community partners brought back to Elgin three awards recognizing local efforts.

The 2005 Block Walk Report Project completed by the DNA Design Committee was a co-winner of the Design Committee Project, the Judson College Partnership with DNA won in the Partnership Development category, and lastly Giants: African Dinosaurs Created by Project Exploration/ Dinos on Parade was a co-winner in the Special Event category. The Downtown Neighborhood Association also received designation as a Premier program through the Illinois Main Street Program, which there are only seven of in Illinois out of sixty-nine communities.

Present to receive an award for the 2005 Block Walk Report was architect, Eric Pepa, urban planner and landscape architect, Paul Bednar, and construction contractor, Rick Krocza as active DNA Design committee participants in this project. The judges declared,” This was a wonderfully proactive approach and a great model for other Main Streets.”

Present to receive an award for the Judson College Partnership was Provost & VP for Academic Affairs, Dale Simmons, Architecture department chair Dr. Curtis Sartor, and students Josh McGarvey, Nickolas Coile, John Wetendorf, Aaron Wood, and recent graduate Maria Sierra. One judge commented, “What a great use of their resources! The students benefit from practical experience and the community reaps the awards!”

Present to receive the “Giants: African Dinosaurs Created by Project Exploration/ Dinos on Parade” award from Gail Borden Public Library was Carole Medal, executive director, Karen Maki, deputy director, Denise Raleigh, director of communications and Jean Bednar, library board member and foundation trustee. The judges declared this a “Dino-mite project” that Gail Borden Public Library, the community and DNA took part in. The project was a success because of a tremendous number of people that contributed.

Illinois Main Street communities from throughout the state submit their best projects for the annual awards. A distinguished panel of judges, including economic development specialists, historic preservation architects, and downtown professionals made the award decisions.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office administers the Illinois Main Street program, which has 69 designated communities, with an additional 25 introductory communities on the way. It is based on a national model that offers communities help with issues of historic preservation, economic development and downtown improvements. Illinois has the 4th largest program out of the 40 plus states that belong to the National Main Street program administered through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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