The 2018 Downtown Annual Achievement Award winners were announced on Thursday evening at the Downtown Racine Corporation Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony. This year there were more than 40 nominations, more than ever.

RAM has been an anchor in downtown since 1974.

The 2018 Downtown Showcase Award recognized an event or organization that has helped attract visitors and residents and improved the overall image of downtown as an exciting, dynamic, place. The award went to the Racine Art Museum. RAM has been an anchor in downtown since 1974 and is the largest craft museum in the United States with over 9,000 objects of art in its collection from over 30 states. It boasts a spectacular cultural experience that attracts day trippers to tourists from all over the world. “RAM is a jewel in our downtown giving us the finest in a vast array of craft art,” said a release from Downtown Racine Corp.

Ald. Jeff Coe

The 2018 Downtown Champion Award recognizes a person, business or organization that is the “ultimate citizen, supporting downtown through employment, facilities, and sponsorship.” “As a public servant Ald. Jeff Coe leads with a sense of purpose and humanity,” noted the DRC. “He is tireless in his fundraising efforts to help downtown Racine and he actively supports and promotes downtown businesses. His passion to assist others makes his interactions personal and meaningful.”

Jim Palenick

The 2018 Downtown Corporate Citizenship Award goes to an individual who has been a catalyst in improving downtown; has provided service to the downtown community and has worked tirelessly to promote downtown. “Jim Palenick has been an extremely enthusiastic supporter of downtown Racine since becoming City Administrator,” stated a release about the awards. “As a member of DRC’s Executive Committee, he has provided outstanding insight and recommendations, which have been invaluable to the progress that has been made. In addition, he has worked hard to maximize downtown’s assets with high-quality, in-fill development and helped Racine capitalize on Foxconn.”

The 2018 Downtown CPR Award went to the Mt. Royal Investment Group for the redevelopment of a downtown building or property that has helped enhance the overall downtown neighborhood and revitalize the area. The California development company’s team of Tim Ryan, Brittany and Steve Seely and Todd Bowden “has continued its acquisition and investment streak in downtown,” said the DRC release. “This group of investors came in from across the country to not only purchase buildings in our downtown area but to do so with the intention of renovating and remodeling the buildings to bring additional residential and retail to our downtown. Just a few of their notable investments include the former YMCA which will be converted to 49 apartments, the Haymarket Square building and 524 Monument Square with a total investment of nearly $8 million.

The Best Small New Business recognition goes to a new retail shop, gallery or restaurant that has captured the attention of the marketplace and helped enhance downtown. The 2018 Winners, Angie and Andrew Molina, opened Racine Brewing in February last year. “Their ever-changing beer and soda menu encourage first-time and repeat visitors to try something new,” said the DRC. “In addition, their ongoing schedule of events has something for everyone from live music to trivia, comedy, magic and even history lessons. Racine Brewing has been a phenomenal addition to the downtown tapestry.”

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.