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:
La Piazza Cucina Italiana
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor
Jaycees Holiday Lights Parade
Innovative Business Concept
Best Creative Promotion
Holiday Walks Trivia
The Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company
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
Best Not for Profit Initiative
Farmers Market SNAP Outreach
Junior League of Springfield
Best Holiday Window (Voted by Public)
Best Public/Private Partnership
Levitt AMP Springfield
City of Springfield
Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation,
PNC Bank and Springfield Area Arts Council