Jim Caudle of First Texoma National Bank emceed the ceremony designed to highlight accomplishments and show appreciation to Downtown businesses and those involved in Main Street. Caudle, President of the Chamber when Main Street began, was joined by the former Chamber Executive Pam Williams, the director who originated the program. The event was hosted by Southeastern Oklahoma State University in the Massey Building.
Members of the Durant Main Street Board were introduced. Cindi Gill was recognized as the Board Member of the Year and for serving the last two years as president. She will continue to serve on the Board ex-officio. She was presented a plaque in appreciation of her dedicated service.
New board member Gzim Krasniqi was given a nametag to wear while working for Main Street. He will begin service July 1.
Board members who have completed service to the Board of Directors were recognized for their contributions. DeeAnn Haworth and Sharon Dillard received cd’s depicting the downtown’s progress that they have been a large part of.
Senator Jay Paul Gumm presented the local award winners from the Oklahoma Main Street banquet in April. Certificates from the state were presented in recognition of Durant’s finalist nominations for the Oklahoma Main Street Awards. Recipients include:
— Cardinal Glass for Premier Partner (support of ice rink)
— Take 2 Boutique for Best New Business Downtown (establishment and growth of business, merchandising, window displays, and community support)
— Sherry Cook – RanSherSu Building for Best Façade Rehab Over $10,000
— 2nd Street Bakery—Best Interior Design Project
— Skating on the Square—Creative New Event
— Durant Main Street – Top 10 Oklahoma Main Street Programs for 2010
Three of the ten finalists at the Oklahoma Main Street Banquet received top honors. The Durant High School Service Learning Project was recognized for their outstanding Youth Involvement Project. Students, faculty, and administration including Loann Latona and Principal Cheryl Conditt were on hand to receive the honor.
Another statewide winner was Marie’s for Outstanding Business Practices. Owners Marie Morrow and Annette Armstrong provide customer service and are always looking to improve their store. Their window displays set the standard for a craze that now has spread throughout the district.
The third statewide award winner for Durant was for Oustanding Web Presence. Durant Main Street Online! was coordinated by Chris Pierce of Computer Services. It includes a newly designed website that provides more opportunity to feature businesses and activities. A facebook page and twitter account allow the organization to reach media outlets and individuals to spread the word about great things going on in Downtown Durant.
Volunteers are extremely important to the organization. The winner of the Colton Sherrill Award for youth volunteer efforts was Amber Wood. This young lady volunteers weekly at the Music on Market Square, anytime she is needed. She was required to complete 12 hours for her school classwork, but she just finished 100 hours putting her in the Century Club.
Donna Powell was named this year’s Volunteer of the Year. She has founed two fundraisers for Durant Main Street—the Magnolia Pageant and the Valentine Murder Mystery.
Media awards were given to KTEN, KLBC, KDOC, KMKT/KMAD/KLAK, KXII, and the Durant Daily Democrat.
The Mayor, City Council, and City Manager received the award for Best Public Improvement—the new Central Fire Station. This provides an backdrop for Market Square.
The Durant Area Chamber of Commerce received the award for Out of District Member.
This year it was called the Founder’s Award as the Main Street program originated out of the Chamber in 1997. This being the Chamber’s Centennial Year seemed like the perfect opportunity to recognize the organization for being a community partner.
The downtown award winners were as follows:
— Outstanding efforts by a new business was given to Colors
— Best Interior Design went to The Roadhouse
— Best Building Façade also went to Pat Phelps, Attorney
— Best Window Display winner was Bliss Boutique
— Best signage was given to The Plaza
The Main Street Business of the Year is an award for supporting the Main Street organization, activities to promote the Downtown, and for being a good neighbor to other Downtown businesses.
This year’s winner was Three Valley Museum. The Durant Historical Society was recognized for their outstanding support of Durant Main Street. The Museum hosted the recent Journey Stories Smithsonian Exhibit in January and February. Attendance went from 150 to 2500 for the same time period one year ago. The museum has now decided to close on Mondays and open from 11-3 on Saturdays to reach more people.
Bill Garner was accompanied by his son Steve to perform “Citizen of Durant”, a song recently penned by Garner. He first performed the song at Music on Market Square, and it tells what a great community we have.
Durant Main Street appreciates all the nominees for their hard work to make Downtown Durant the best it can be. Volunteers work many hours to help support the property and business owners, and the organization is grateful to have so many people who care about preserving the heritage while building for the future.
For more information, contact Durant Main Street at 580-924-1550.