Heart of Rockford Awards announced

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River District Association announces recipients to recognize personal and financial commitment to the heart of the city

River District Association announced the recipients of the 19th Annual Heart of Rockford Awards at a dinner event Aug. 11. The event, held at Stewart Square, 308 W. State St., was catered by King’s Table II Café & Catering and Kryptonite bar. Highlights of the event will be available on DVD or video thanks to video documentation by Snapshot Music (www.snapshotmusic.com).

The Heart of Rockford Awards program has been recognizing personal and financial commitment to the heart of the city for 19 years. Over that time, 157 individuals and public and private institutions have received awards and many more nominees have been honored. This is impressive when one also considers the millions of dollars and thousands of hours that have been invested in Rockford’s downtown.

The program included an update to the organization’s members on accomplishments and activities over the past several months, and plans through the end of the year.

A recognition ceremony also praised 50 businesses and organizations that made an effort to beautify their building or property, especially for the America In Bloom competition. For her magnificent work on the competition, Ruth Miller, director of City of Gardens, as well as the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois were honored with a framed Certificate of Appreciation for their work. All of the recognized organizations will receive a Certificate of Appreciation signed by Steve Moore, president of the River District Association, and Mayor Larry Morrissey.

Morrissey, keynote speaker, inspired the audience with his vision for the community and the standards of excellence he has set. Several times he had to pause while the audience responded with enthusiastic applause.

A moving presentation was made of the Spirit Award, new this year, to honor Joyce Serrano, a small business owner (Serrano’s Mexican Kitchen), who passed away in June. Her children were there to accept the River District’s appreciation for all that Joyce and her family has done for the organization and downtown Rockford. In speaking of his affection for Joyce, Morrissey drew the biggest laugh of the evening by noting that Joyce was like a kind Mom to many, illustrated by the fact that she even fed Editor and Publisher of The Rock River Times Frank Schier. Candy, Anita, Irene and Blas intend to carry on the business in the tradition of their mother, and continue to be open for business. Serrano’s is at 206 N. Main St. (962-7235).

2005 Heart of

Rockford Award recipients:

Spirit Award

Joyce Serrano, posthumously

Commitment by an individual

Doug Mark

Commitment by a business

Rockford IceHogs Professional Hockey

New business

Omega Nut Co., Inc., 308 W. State St., Stewart Square

Commercial Renovation, sponsored by Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects

Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 102 N. Main St.

Residential renovation

Church Street Apartments, 128 N. Church St.

Historic Preservation, sponsored by Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Lincoln Middle School—Auditorium Restoration

Festival or Special Event, sponsored by Oliver, Close, Worden, Winkler & Greenwald

2004 Stars & Guitars Concert Series produced by On The Waterfront, Inc.

Best of Heart of Rockford Award, sponsored by Associated Bank

Rockford Bank & Trust, 127 N. Wyman St.

With great pride, The Rock River Times particularly thanks the River District for Residential Renovation Award given the work on the Church Street Apartments, 128 N. Church St., above the offices of the newspaper. The staff of the paper facilitated this work, and deserve many thanks and certainly share the honor.

For this award, The Heart of Rockford Awards & Dinner program read: “The residential renovation completed at 128 N. Church St. in 2004 deserves recognition as a Heart of Rockford Award recipient for its attention to detail in the preservation of the original character of the apartments. Frank Schier directed the restoration project for Dr. Gautam Gupta, building owner. Local contractor Fred Whitney of Fred’s Painting & Remodeling restored the six apartments to their original arts and crafts splendor. Local artisans, Russ Blahnik, Sarah Bell and Andrea Hazzard, added finishing design elements.

“This restoration project exemplifies adding modern conveniences while preserving and highlighting original design elements. Highlights of the restoration include: custom wrought iron back gate; city view from roof top garden accented by custom wrought fence; entry doors restored and preserved; hallway skylight reopened; automatic garage doors added to make convenient indoor parking; bathrooms restored to original beauty; beautiful hardwood trim and floor restoration; all new appliances and period style window treatments.”

Three apartments are available in Church Street Properties. For rental information, contact Frank Schier at 964-9767.

As owner of Church Street Properties at Church and Mulberry streets, the Irish Rose Building and the Rockford Trust Building, Dr. Gautam Gupta was also the largest contributor to the River District Boat Dock Fund, which established the dock complex at the end of Mulberry Street last year.

From the August 17-23, 2005, issue

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