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The original item was published from 11/8/2023 1:23:00 PM to 12/7/2023 6:05:02 AM.

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Posted on: October 20, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 2023 Mayor's Awards winners announced

Press release announcement

Brookings Mayor Oepke “Ope” Niemeyer, along with several of the city’s volunteer boards and commissions, has announced the 2023 Mayor’s Awards honorees.

The public is invited to help honor the recipients at the Mayor’s Awards event, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration, on Wednesday, December 6, at the Dacotah Bank Center at 824 32nd Avenue. The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. with the awards program beginning at 6 p.m.


Most Inspirational Award
Awardee: Jay Bender
The Mayor’s Most Inspirational Award recognizes the inspiring work and commitment of individuals in Brookings. The award is given to a community member age 40 or older who has made a significant impact in the community by contributing to community engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, diversity, and innovation. 

Generational Leadership Award
Awardee: Corbin Kratovil
The Mayor’s Generational Award is given to a community member age 35 or younger who has affected the community in the following ways: positively changes how people think about the community and city; helps Brookings attract and retain young professionals and families; motivates new generations to be active in their communities; contributes to the advancement and well-being of the community through service in areas such as education, sports, fundraising, charitable and voluntary service, economic development, arts, and the environment. 

Dorothy & Eugene T. Butler Human Rights Award
Awardee: Penny Hauffe
This award is a recognition award of the Human Rights Commission. The award is presented annually to person(s) who have contributed to advancing the cause of human rights. The award bears the name of the first recipients, Dorothy and Eugene T. Butler, who were recognized for their lifelong advocacy in human rights issues on local, regional and national levels.

Park and Recreation Board Partnership Awards
Category: Individual
Awardees: Rick Wenande and Larry Ammann
The Mayor’s Parks and Recreation Partnership Award is a recognition award of the Brookings Park and Recreation Board. This award recognizes individuals for outstanding accomplishments for parks and recreation events.

Category: Group/Organization
Awardee: Friends of Baseball / Brookings Baseball Association
This award recognizes a group or organization for outstanding accomplishments for parks and recreation events.

Historic Preservation Awards
Category: Excellence in Restoration
Awardee: Zoilo & Agnes Lansang – 326 Main Avenue
Awardee: Chuck and Larissa Bennis – 630 Sixth Avenue
Awardee: Daniel and Nancy Scholl – 710 Fifth Avenue
Awardee: South Dakota State University Lincoln Hall
This award recognizes exemplary restoration of historic structures. An accurate restoration project depicts the form, features, and character of an historic building as it appeared at a particular period of time. Restoration requires sensitive upgrading of mechanical systems and other code-required work to make the site functional.

Category: Excellence in Rehabilitation Award
Awardee: Kevin Grunewaldt - 411 Fourth Street
This Award recognizes projects that make compatible use of a building through repair, alterations or additions while preserving features of the property that convey its historic value. Nominees in this category must demonstrate how their restoration or rehabilitation of an historic property was a laudable effort using the Secretary of The Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, or achieved a satisfactory result by going over and beyond the normal accepted practices.

Category: Adaptive Reuse Award
Awardee: Kara and Mike Grayson – 419 Main Avenue
This award recognizes projects in which an older building has been restored in sympathy with its historic period or architectural style, even if the current function of the building is not the same as its original historic function.

Category: Stewardship Award
Awardee: Lee Gilkerson - 828 Eighth Avenue
This award recognizes those who have ensured the preservation of historic properties through long-term care and maintenance, stabilization, and protection, or continuous family ownership.

Sustainability Council Awards
Category: Industrial
Awardee: Millborn Seeds
This award recognizes a local industry whose contribution to sustainability is met through a variety of avenues including resilient land use and climate-smart products.

Category: Nonprofit/Government
Awardee: Dakota Prairie Elementary
This award is given to a nonprofit or government organization for its work in promoting sustainable practices through education, outreach and environmental well-being.

Category: Individual
Awardee: Kirsten Gjesdal
This award recognizes an individual who promotes sustainability through meaningful vision and dedication to enriching the local community.

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