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DDA brings home two county awards

Lake Orion DDA Director Suzanne Perrault shares an award with Oxford DDA Director Madonna Van Fossen at the Main Street Oakland County Awards Celebration. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
March 20, 2013 - A total of 11 Main Street Oakland County communities (MSOC) won awards at the Main Street Oakland County awards celebration held at the Royal Oak Music Theater on March 8. The Oxford Downtown Development Authority brought home two of the awards.

The yearly event recognizes achievements in five categories including: design, economic restructuring, organization, promotion and a specials category.

Oxford and Orion shared the "Outstanding Public Relations Effort" for the holiday promotion campaign "Stay Close & Shop Local." Their partnership targeted specific areas and invited consumers to utilize the convenience of supporting local retailers in both downtowns for their holiday shopping needs.

"I thought it was excellent because we are the first two communities ever in the Main Street Oakland County Program to work together on a project, but not only work together but win an award for it," Oxford DDA Director Madonna Van Fossen. "It's a great economic development tool because first of all sharing the brainstorming sessions between the two communities and the people that contributed was just great, (as well as) sharing the cost of everything (and) sharing the ideas."

"Both downtowns are so close together. People think we're in competition with each other and we are, but there is uniqueness about each downtown that both Suzanne Perrault (Lake Orion's DDA director) thought there is enough to spread around," Van Fossen added. "We are the same, but different enough. We had a great time and we are looking forward to doing many more projects with them."

Van Fossen was also presented with the "Guts and Diplomacy" award.

According to Bob Donohue, principal planner and Main Street Oakland County Program coordinator "the award is given to the person who best maintains a professional leadership role, continues to run a very transparent, community involved process, even in view of political pressure that may take place if the role of the DDA and its need continue to manage the downtown is not understood by some. And the person continues to do an outstanding job, even when members of the community have personal agendas and/or unfairly attack the great job being done by the DDA and its leader, the DDA executive director/main street manager."

Van Fossen said she was "absolutely humbled" and "stunned."

"I had no idea, I was totally shocked," she said. "It's not an award I can claim credit for because I truly believe it's not me. It's the people around me that help me love my job and actually make me look good or whatever."

"I think I am the face of the DDA, but the DDA is not me," Van Fossen continued. "The DDA is all of my board members, it's all the people on the committees, it's all the volunteers and it's the people in the community that support us"

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Washington. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street Program for 32 distinct, historic downtowns in Oakland County. MSOC downtowns have generated more than $632 million private and public investment, 7,629 new jobs and 773 new businesses since the program was formed in 2000. For more information visit www.mainstreetoaklandcounty.com

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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