Main Street Delaware’s 13th annual “Design Awards” is a chance to recognize businesses and volunteers for helping to improve the look and atmosphere of downtown.
“We only had four renovation projects this year, and two of them were interior renovations, but we look at everything, from window signage to branding,” said Frances Jo Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting the downtown. “There’s enough community involvement, too. It’s never difficult to find people who have really worked hard for us each year.”
Although there isn’t any set categories, there were seven award recipients at the event, presented Wednesday in the Ohio Wesleyan University’s Ross Art Museum.
A Little Simplicity, 53 N. Sandusky St., received an award for interior renovation. Owner Samantha Renner Sponsler renovated the second floor, putting in a new staircase for the antique/handmade souvenir store. “It’s beautiful,” Hamilton said. “That space has been unloved for a long time.”
Restoration Brew Worx, 25 N. Sandusky St., also received an award for interior renovation. The former site of Beehive Books has not only changed its interior to suit its business, but it also pays homage to the past with a beehive mural in its hallway.
Ohio Wesleyan received two awards. One was for the exterior renovation and adaptive reuse of Merrick Hall. The year-long, $8 million restoration gives the 142-year-old building state-of-the-art classroom space; an event space with a 22-foot-high ceiling; and houses “The OWU Connection” to help students. The second was for the full renovation of the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center.
Three community awards were presented. One went to Liz Neroni from Preservation Parks of Delaware County. Neroni came up with the idea to put native Ohio species of plants and flowers in the downtown planters.
“All the plants have been donated by Preservation Parks, so we haven’t had any plant expenditures in the last couple of years. It’s much more sustainable,” Hamilton said. “They added some annuals this year.”
Jesse Carter also received a community award. “I think he’s been involved with Main Street from the beginning,” Hamilton said. “He’s been a board member and a committee member, but above everything else, Jesse always does what you ask him to do. No job is too small for him.”
The other community award went to Terra Nova Community Church and senior pastor Jason Allison.
“He does a lot of behind-the-scenes work, like booth assignments at First Fridays,” Hamilton said. “His whole congregation has been fantastic about helping within the community. They feel like Delaware is important, and want to be helpful.
The award sponsors were Manos, Martin and Pergram Co., LPA; Rosebud Properties; Delaware County Bank; and Hilborn Insurance.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.