Three to honor for dedication to downtown OKC

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership has nominated three local businesses and community leaders for special honors to be presented in June at the 35th Annual Dean A. McGee Awards.

Rand Elliott will receive the Dean A. McGee Award for his lifetime contributions to downtown. Debi Martin was selected to receive the Stanley Draper Award for her community excellence efforts, and Marva Ellard was nominated to receive the Neal Horton Award for her contributions to downtown revitalization.

The ceremony, scheduled for the evening of June 1 in the Grand Ballroom of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, will be a black-tie event. It will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a gourmet dinner at 7 p.m. Co-chairs for the event are former Mayor Mick Cornett and SSM St. Anthony’s Hospital President Tammy Powell.

Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership President Jane Jenkins will present the “State of the Downtown” address.

“This year’s recipients exemplify the same spirit as the three leaders for whom the awards are named,” Cornett said in a press release. “They helped design the downtown, transform downtown areas and set an example of public service by developing a downtown that will serve future generations well. They helped mold and shape today’s downtown.

Rand Elliot

Rand Elliott helped transform Oklahoma City literally above and below ground. He redesigned the downtown lobby in The Underground to give it a contemporary feel and improved functionality. He restored the Vesper Building in Automobile Alley, remodeled a Bricktown warehouse for use by local doctors, created the Beacon of Hope in Stiles Park, and transformed the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Building into the Gaylord Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum. Elliott also redesigned the Bicentennial Park in front of the Civic Center Music Hall and revived the famous downtown iron-style building, which won Interior Design magazine’s Best of Year award. The architect’s most recent downtown accomplishments are the Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Arts at the north entrance to downtown and the Heartland Headquarters at 5th and Broadway. Approaching downtown from the south, Elliott’s world-class designs for the Boathouse District’s eight buildings and structures helped elevate the city’s status as a premier Olympic river sports venue.

Debi Martin

Debi Martin “exemplifies a relentless Model City employee with an attitude of action,” the press release reads. Since 1990, she has been City Hall’s “steadfast educator” and resource for new mayors, city council members and city executives. In 1995, she met frequently with families who lost children in the tragedy at the Alfred P. Murrah Building and was named co-chair of the first anniversary memorial ceremony. She then served as a liaison with the city to help move the Oklahoma City Museum of the Arts downtown. Martin formed the First Tee youth golf program and managed the Reading Buddies program for public school children, enlisting more than 100 city employees as mentors.

Marva Ellard

Marva Ellard is a noted curator and advocate for maintaining Midtown as a neighborhood. She bought a decades-old vacant 1928 building and turned it into the charming 38-apartment The Sieber, which launched an economic resurgence with retail businesses and restaurants. Now Ellard has his sights set on the historic Villa Teresa, a former Catholic school and convent to be rehabilitated into owner-occupied homes and a boutique hotel. She sits on the Downtown OKC BID Advisory Board.

Tickets for the Dean A. McGee Awards are available. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (405) 235-3500 or emailing [email protected] Individual tickets are $300 and seating is limited. Corporate tables and sponsorships are also available.

The event will benefit the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership’s 501(c)(3) organization, Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives, which funds public art and other downtown improvement projects. For more information, visit www.DowntownOKC.com.


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