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Downtown Celebrates at Annual Awards Fundraiser

Downtown Springfield Inc. celebrated our 27th year as the organization where the downtown neighborhood comes together with a “roaring” Annual Dinner fundraiser at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Thank you to our sponsors Watts Copy Systems, Wyndham Springfield City Centre, Illinois REALTORS, Chick Fritz Distributing and Frye Williamson Press. Thank you to our Corporate Table sponsors: Bank of Springfield, Brown, Hay & Stephens LLP, Hanson Professional Services, Horace Mann, HSHS St. Johns Hospital, Kuhn & Trello, Memorial Medical Center, and US Bank.

Thanks to Kristi Mitchell Photography for serving as the night’s official photographer: https://photographybykristi.shootproof.com/gallery/11509326/

Approximately 500 attendees were welcomed by a video from Governor JB Pritzker to kick off the night, which included a great performance by The Gaslight Squares, who came up to jam from St. Louis.

The evening marked the official transition from the 2019 Board of Directors to the 2020 Board of Directors, with outgoing President Kevin Kuhn of Kuhn & Trello Consulting Engineers passing the gavel to Brian Wojcicki of Illinois Capitol Group.

Chef August Mrozowski of Augie’s Front Burner receives the 2019 Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award.  Photo by Kristi Mitchell Photography

Emcees Mary Young and Mary Kate Smith from The Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company.  Photo by Kristi Mitchell Photography

Mayor Jim Langfelder celebrated his 60th birthday with his annual State of the Downtown address. John Charles from Southern Illinois University and Bruce Sommer of University of Illinois Springfield also gave the first joint public appearance concerning the universities’ plans to submit a proposal to Governor Pritzker to expand programs in the downtown neighborhood via an Innovation District.

The audience generously raised more than $33,000 on the spot for DSI’s newest program, Momentum on Main Street, which brings together a coalition of entities to attract the next generation of entrepreneurs, property developers and investors. Stay tuned for announcements regarding our 2020 plans for Momentum thanks to this generous outpouring.

Chef August Mrozowski was honored with the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award. Augie started in the kitchen at the St. Nick’s alongside his father at age 14; helped start the Old Capitol Farmers Market as a chef seeking new farmers with fresh ingredients in the 90’s; has helped train other amazing local chefs such as Jordan Coffey of American Harvest and Corey Faucon of Long Nine Junction; and celebrated 22 years operating Augie’s Front Burner in 2019. Read this excellent profile of Augie by Jay Kitterman from The State Journal-Register.

Award nominees were recommended by the public and determined by a panel of DSI Past Presidents and active members. Here is a complete list of the businesses and individuals recognized as people and places making the most impact on the neighborhood in calendar year 2019: 

Best Retail

Corrine’s Closet

Best Restaurant

La Piazza Cucina Italiana

Best Nightlife

Floyd’s Thirst Parlor

Best Event

Jaycees Holiday Lights Parade

Innovative Business Concept

Dumb Records

Best Creative Promotion

Holiday Walks Trivia
The Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company

Green Leadership

Susan Helm, Native Planters Project

Best New Signage

Richards & Stehman

Best Upper Story Renovation

Third Monroe LLC

Best Overall Renovation

Centre at 501

DSI Volunteer of the Year

Michael S. Johnson

Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award

August Mrozowski

Best Not for Profit Initiative

Farmers Market SNAP Outreach
Junior League of Springfield

Downtown Advocate

David Lee

Best Holiday Window (Voted by Public)

The Roost

Best Public/Private Partnership

Levitt AMP Springfield
City of Springfield
Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation,
PNC Bank and Springfield Area Arts Council

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