ICON Good Neighbor Awards
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.
- Community Organization
- 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
Voting for the 2016 ICON Good Neighbor Awards is closed.
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.
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.