ICON Good Neighbor Awards

2017 Springfield ICON Good Neighbor Award Plaques for Springfield Vintage (Linda Renehan), Habitat for Humanity, Joe McMenamin, Ward 7 Alderman, City of Springfield, and City of Springfield Public Works Housing Inspectors.The Good Neighbor awards recognize individuals, organizations and businesses who make an objective, measurable positive impact on the quality of life for Springfield residents in inner city older neighborhoods.

Categories

  • Individual
  • Community Organization
  • Business
  • Public Service

Timeline

  • August – call for nominations goes to ICON membership
  • August-Oct – accept nominations
  • Oct – Nov – ICON Steering Committee chooses award winners
  • Dec – award winners are recognized as guests at ICON’s annual party

The deadline for nominations is October 31.


2017 Award Winners

Linda Renehan, Springfield Vintage – Business

Linda Renehan, Springfield Vintage - Good Neighbor Award - Business category 2017.Linda is the ultimate Good Neighbor business in downtown Springfield. With singularly great ideas, she always welcomes others into them, generously spreading the attention and the care around the blocks. Just three examples of creative entrepreneurship and community building:

  • When she needed publicity photos for Springfield Vintage, she used a downtown business and invited people from downtown businesses and organizations to model. The photos became part of a photo essay and a “Dusting Off Downtown” event that was featured in SO Magazine, bringing publicity and people downtown.
  • Linda brought vintage blankets and drinking water from her store so visitors to Artist on the Plaza could sit on the lawn of the Old State Capitol under the shade trees and listen to the music. The Old State Capitol joined in by leaving up tents, and SAAC artists began playing music on the lawn to complete the Lunch on the Lawn experience.
  • Springfield Vintage - Good Neighbor Award - Business category 2017.Linda expanded a fashion show to include all of the downtown shops now selling clothing and to help benefit DSI as an organization in addition to the original organization, PCASA (a downtown non-profit.) She managed 12 other shop owners, the trunk show, and 70 models, to get the word out that clothing is back in downtown stores.

Habitat for Humanity – Community Organization

Habitat for Humanity - Good Neighbor Award - Community Organization category 2017.Habitat for Humanity has been committed to providing affordable housing in Sangamon County since 1989. Since their beginning, they have built or renovated 107 homes in Sangamon County. Habitat for Humanity built a new house at 2112 Black Ave and renovated a home in Enos Park. Habitat for Humanity only serves low-income, hard working families. All of the homes Habitat has built or renovated are in older neighborhoods.

But that’s not all – you may not know that in the past 4 years, Habitat for Humanity has completed over 30 handicap wheelchair ramps. They also built over 14 ramps in 2017 all over Sangamon County. In addition, their Habitat ReStore helps everyone recycle, reuse, and keep tons of useful “stuff” out of the landfill – and out of Springfield basements and alleys!

Joe McMenamin, Alderman, Ward 7 – Individual

Joe McMenamin, Alderman, Ward 7 – Good Neighbor Award - Individual category 2017.Now in his second term as alderman, Joe brings in-depth research, courage, and a passion for responsible use of public money to his work representing citizens of Springfield. He is a much-needed watchdog on the city council for transparency, ethics and citizen input to Springfield City Council decision-making.

Joe’s votes on the Council have championed stronger problem property rules, increased vacant building fees, increased infrastructure funding, private investment in blighted areas, restoring aging commercial corridors, downtown redevelopment, fiscal responsibilty, and Springfield residency for city employees. They reflect a dedication to the welfare of the entire city and have helped to preserve neighborhoods, improve Springfield’s housing stock, maintain infrastructure, rein in sprawl and increase long-term appeal to residents and busineses.

Joe worked with businesses and neighborhoods to attract successful economic development projects that have replaced blighted nuisance properties: HyVee, Dollar General, Binny’s Beverages, Outback and Burlington. Joe was instrumental in addressing serious crime issues at the former MacArthur Park Apartments, setting the stage for a multi-million dollar renovation to create The Boulevard Townhomes, with a new community center, playground, landscaping, lighting, energy efficient HVAC, accessible apartment homes, community garden and after-school program.

As a rental property owner, Joe worked with Historic West Side, keeping neighbors informed and gathering input as he improved his properties and attracted good tenants who are an asset to the neighborhood.

Joe is a charter member of ICON, helped to write ICON bylaws, and has been a vocal proponent of fact-based action to assist ICON in better serving Springfield neighborhoods.

City of Springfield Public Works Housing Inspectors – Public Service
Darryl Harris, Division Manager; Michael Carr, Suzanne Duncan, Michael Gant, Barb Jones, Matt Morrell, Tiffani Selinger, Paula Zink

City of Springfield Public Works Housing Inspectors – Good Neighbor Award - Public Service category 2017.ICON founder Steve Combs frequently talked about our “neighborhood trifecta” of neighborhood police officer, city legal, and housing inspectors. Our city housing inspectors are often on the front line of defense in our quest to maintain healthy neighborhoods. Dilapidated housing, yards full of solid waste, tall weeds and garbage are their specialty, but they’re also adept at managing relationships with owners to achieve the ultimate goal of turning problem properties into good neighbors.

We are fortunate to have dedicated inspectors who are familiar with their assigned neighborhoods and who work with neighborhood leaders to address issues with properties that can decrease property values and cause unhealthy and stressful quality of life problems for city residents. We honor their commitment and sense of duty to their job – and we especially appreciate their willingness to proactively address housing violations beyond those reported by citizens.

2017 Springfield ICON Good Neighbor Award Plaques for Springfield Vintage (Linda Renehan), Habitat for Humanity, Joe McMenamin, Ward 7 Alderman, City of Springfield, and City of Springfield Public Works Housing Inspectors.


2016 Award Winners

Goodenow Insurance Agency, Inc.
In 2012, Don Goodenow purchased the previous North Branch Library at 719 North Grand Avenue East, which had been closed by the City and left vacant in August of 2005. Don put considerable time and money into renovating the building, leaving as much as possible in the original state. In 2016, he moved his business, the Goodenow Insurance Agency, into the building; it had been vacant for 11 years. The biscuit sign and a safe remain in the building, which is located in the middle of a row of storefronts on North Grand within the boundaries of Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association. As the nominators wrote, “We do not care to think about what might have happened to this building without Don stepping up, and we are most grateful to him for saving the “North Branch” building.

First Church of the Brethern
The First Church of the Brethern has been our primary meeting space for most of ICON’s existence, and we appreciate their hospitality. With this Good Neighbor Award, we recognize them for their work to benefit Springfield and the wider community through hosting the Compass Program, through their diverse and welcoming message, for their Alternative Holiday Fair, and their Pancake and Sausage Breakfast. As a friend wrote on FaceBook, “They care about the community and show it in so many ways.”

Doris Turner, Ward 3 Alderman, City of Springfield
Since first elected in 2011, Ward 3 Alderman Doris has been a vocal supporter of older neighborhoods.

She has consistently voted in support of ordinances that benefit Springfield’s residential neighborhoods, including garbage reform, infrastructure funding, and the recent “3-strikes-you’re-fined” ordinance. As her nominator wrote, “She is very outspoken and worked extremely hard for garbage reform.”

She has been a major proponent of cleaning up the Pillsbury site.

Alderman Turner was instrumental in co-sponsoring, supporting and passing the 2011 ordinance that resulted in putting a 3-year time limit on problem properties. As she stated to the council in October of that year, the ordinance addressed one of the main concerns of her constituents at the time. She said the issue wasn’t just about boarded properties, but about the health and safety of residents.

2016 Springfield ICON Good Neighbor Award Plaques for Goodenow Insurance Agency, Inc., First Church of the Brethern, and Doris Turner, Ward 3 Alderman, City of Springfield.


2015 Award Winners

Northside Children’s Community Library
The Northside Children’s Community Library opened in 2011 after closure of Lincoln Library’s north branch in 2005. Serving children through middle school, the library is open to everyone, with about 400 children currently having library privileges. Along with Coordinator Amelia Kearnes, volunteers help with homework and reading, arts and crafts, playing games and solving puzzles. The library’s mission is to provide free access to books and technology, innovative programming, and tutoring services to meet the educational and cultural needs of all Springfield area children. Find out more at www.northsidechildrenslibrary.org.

The Compass After-School Program
Compass, a program of the Family Service Center, is a free after-school program for homeless and low-income students of Springfield School District 186 that includes academics, life skills/enrichment, and a healthy dinner served family-style. Compass is currently serving seven schools, and each school is paired with one or more community partners who host the program, providing the program location, volunteers, dinner, and supplies. Adult volunteers serve as mentors to the children. Compass works on educating the children as whole persons, and recognizes that social, emotional, and life skills contribute to overall well-being and academic success. Find out more www.service2families.org/compass.

Mark Mahoney, Public Works Director, City of Springfield
Mark has been supporting neighborhoods since first elected as Ward 6 Alderman in 2003.As the Ward 6 Alderman, Mark approached several neighborhood leaders to create an organization that would look at the issues of older neighborhoods city-wide and actively work to make improvements. As a result, ICON was formed in 2004. After serving Ward 6 for eight years while working for the Illinois House of Representatives, Mark became the City of Springfield’s Public Works Director in 2011. Mark has helped ICON, our older neighborhoods, and the entire city by addressing problem properties, cleaning up the city with increased large item pickup, expanded recycling and leaf pickup, additional hazardous waste pickups and the City’s first electronics recycling event. Our streets, alleys, sewers and sidewalks have benefitted from a $86.6 million program to improve the worst of our aging infrastructure. He’s polite and respectful, and he gets the job done when called on for help. At recent ward meetings, Mark was repeatedly mentioned as one of the good things about living in Springfield.

2015 Springfield ICON Good Neighbor Award Plaques


2014 Award Winners

Vera Garrett, from the Springfield Community Garden Family Fit Center, started in 2009 with one community garden on the lot adjacent to her home and has grown that into a non-profit with 4 gardens that empowers residents by promoting healthy eating, exercise, education, and participation in community activities.

Enos Park NIA has taken the initiative in residential revitalization – with a land bank, recruiting urban pioneers to rehab distressed properties and ensuring those rehabs are in sync with the neighborhood’s historic character, and directly litigating problem property owners for faster results.

Steve Combs, ICON founding member, past president and Vice-Chair, is an individual with a king-sized attitude and voice – an icon, if you will, of community organization. At some point, his house will sell and the moving van will pull out, and we will miss his energy and dedication to Springfield’s older neighborhoods.

2014 Springfield ICON Good Neighbor Award Plaques