City recognizes Miller and Moore

May 27, 2011
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The Grand Rapids Planning Department and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission honored two individuals, three homeowners, two business people and a church at their Historic Preservation Awards ceremony last week.

The Special Recognition Award, which is given to residents who continually give of themselves to make the city a better place, went to Mark Miller and Carol Moore.

Moore lives in Fairmount Square, a historic district in the East Hills neighborhood. She has been actively involved in the redevelopment of East Hills and the Wealthy Street commercial and residential corridors for decades. She has led a fight against crime in the neighborhood, restored seven homes in the district beginning in 1978, and helped revive Wealthy Theatre.

“Carol Moore has been a tireless advocate focused on protecting the historic built environment of the East Hills neighborhood for decades. Carol’s vision and deep understanding of the neighborhood’s potential at times stood in stark contrast to those who gave up hope and abandoned the core city,” said City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz.

“She embodies the Margaret Mead saying of ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,’” she added.

Miller is an architect and an urban planner in the local office of Nederveld. He developed the Fairmount Square infill plan and the Brikyaat Neighborhood plan. He also is a past chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, having served on the board for nine years, and a past president of the Grand Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. A Heritage Hill resident, Miller has volunteered for a vast number of community projects, including the new Pleasant Park, and is creating the State Street corridor plan.

“Mark Miller called me one day, asking what it was like to raise a young family in the center of a city, as many families elect to live in the suburbs instead. He and his wife were going to make a location decision. We discussed the shared personal value of providing a sense of place for our children,” said Schulz.

“Mark’s decision to move to Heritage Hill, serve on the Historic Preservation Commission and become involved in neighborhood revitalization efforts clearly demonstrates his commitment to creating a great place for future generations,” she said.

The city’s awards for outstanding residential projects went to Brendan Bonthuis and Ben Damstra for 557 Pleasant St. SE; Don Rietema for 221 College Ave. NE; and Susan Sheardy for 407 Madison Ave. SE. One of two awards for commercial projects went to Karmeel Chamelly, owner of Martha’s Vineyard at 200 Union St. NE, for his extensive renovation of the wine shop. The other went to Todd Ponstein, a real estate developer, for his historic restoration of two adjoining buildings at 632-636 Wealthy St. SE. First Park Congregational Church, 10 East Park St. NE, was named the top preservation project by a group.

Last week’s ceremony marked the 17th consecutive year the city’s planning department and the Historic Preservation Commission has handed out the awards.

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