18th annual Heart of Rockford Awards Dinner Aug. 12

River District Association announces the 18th annual Heart of Rockford Awards Dinner and Semi-Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, Aug. 12. The awards program has been recognizing personal and financial investment in River District for 17 years. Looking back over those years, you will see a tremendous testament to the fact that River District is a desirable place to live, work, do business, learn, play, and worship. There have been 140 recipients of awards in various categories over the past 17 years! “That is a remarkable fact, especially if you think about the tens of millions of dollars invested,” said Kim Wheeler, executive director for River District Association.

After a nomination and jury process, the awards will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, Aug. 12, at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St. Guests can start mingling with friends and colleagues right after work at 5 p.m. (cash bar; entertainment by pianist, Jack Armstrong) and then enjoy a dinner buffet provided by Irish Rose Restaurant between 5:30 and 7 p.m. A portion of this year’s program that starts at 7 p.m. will include an update to River District members by Steve Moore, president of River District Association, and Executive Director Kim Wheeler on goals, initiatives, and accomplishments of the organization. This is in direct response to a member survey sent out earlier this year where members were asked how many meetings they wanted to have per year. The majority who responded said two. Both Moore and Wheeler will also comment on this year’s nominees and host the awards presentation. Display boards for each nomination will be on exhibit at the event.

Cost is $35 for members and $45 for non River District Association members (open seating). Reserved “corporate” tables of eight may be purchased for $280 each. Reservations are sold out. Information: River District office at 964-6221.

This year, officials saw a record-setting 29 nominations for the eight award categories. Wheeler says, “There can only be eight award recipients, but each nominee deserves to be recognized and congratulated for being nominated and making a commitment to the heart of the city.” Award categories are: Commitment by an Individual, Commitment by a Business, Festival/Special Event, New Business, Historic Preservation, Residential Renovation, Commercial Renovation, and Best of Heart of Rockford.

Nomination criteria include the following: bricks and mortar projects had to be completed in 2003; commitment by an individual or business nominations should showcase the significance of the nominee over a period of years; self-nominations accepted; boundaries are not specific, but should be in the heart of the city. Additional criteria include general description and history about the project or person; financial data; names of professional consultants and experts used for the project; quality of life impact; economic impact; consumer appeal; “does it attract patrons to spend money in this and surrounding businesses; and does it inspire further development.”

2004 Heart of Rockford nominees

Chandler Anderson; 409 S. First St./Icon Development Group; Kurt & Sarah Bell; Lori Gustafson; Ruth Miller/City of Gardens; Ed McCullough; Stepping Stones; The Learning Center; Iggy & Carl Seminerio (Little Italy); Olympic Tavern; Centre Events; Ideal Advertising and Printing; WXRX Wing Ding 2003/Y95 Rock’N Run 5K; Angel Statue of Hope Dedication Ceremony & Candlelight Vigil; Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center: Die Fledermaus Operetta; Champions for Charity Ice Show 2003; RAMP Wheel-a-Thon 2003; Red Ball; Rockford Public Library’s Summer Reading Club 2003; Memorial Hall Centennial Celebration; North End Neighborhood Coffee Bar; Carlyle Brewing Co.; Gerlinde’s Water St. Café; Lula’s Vintage Boutique; Belles Firm of Architecture; 120 N. Second St./Norstar Residential Services; St. Anthony of Padua Church; 904 N. Church St. Garden/Stepping Stones; and Minglewood.

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