Early June always sees the return of the Downtown Seattle Association / MID Annual Meeting, taking place again this year at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. It was a pretty good turnout for this not-inexpensive event, but the attendees and the networking afterward make it totally worthwhile.
Beginning just a few minutes after 4 pm last Thursday, the event opened up with DSA Chair, Jack McCullough, offering opening remarks. As usual, Jack was pithy and offered said remarks with all appropriate excitement. President and CEO, Kate Joncas, picked up with the Year in Review and recapped some of this past year’s successes, including the opening of the Kid’s playground at Westlake and the approval for a new downtown elementary school, among others. She also highlighted the DSA’s progress on the five transformative projects. You can find out more about all of these items in the Annual Report.
My favorite part of the event came next with the Metropolitan Improvement District Chair’s Report and the introduction of many of downtown Seattle’s MID Ambassadors, who entered to the uplifting (if slightly overplayed at this point) Seattle anthem by Macklemore from the theatre lobby… they danced, they pranced, they enjoyed their moment in the spotlight — and deservedly so! It was wonderful to see them all recognized. Thereafter followed a special presentation of a video entitled “Undercover Board Member” which featured five DSA Board members who went “undercover” to job shadow a MID Ambassador. Needless to say, there was some humor, and some genuine understanding that the job isn’t as easy as anyone might think, and we are indeed fortunate to have a great group of people who truly ARE Ambassadors for Seattle.
Next up was the presentation of the Downtown Champion Award for 2013. Those of you who follow this award will recall that last year’s winner was Tom Douglas. He came back to help out with the presentation to this year’s recipient, Matt Griffin. Joining Tom were Jim Atkins of Harbor Urban and Norm Rice of the Seattle Foundation. Matt was recognized for his well-known and ongoing commitment to Downtown Seattle, and for his continued involvement as a civic leader. Matt recently put a lot of his money where his mouth is as the developer of one of downtown Seattle’s largest and most
innovative apartment communities – Via6, which include the establishment of ViaBike club for Downtown bicycle commuters (most know Matt is an avid cyclist). He continues in his role as a United Way campaign chair, and he’s been deeply involved in the YMCA as well, even had one named after him! His contributions of time, money and support to all things comprising a healthy downtown make him a natural Downtown Champion Award recipient.
The official presentation ended with closing remarks from Jack McCullough and a dismissal to enjoy the catered networking reception in the grand foyer of the theatre. It was a terrific event, well-produced and on time. If you’d like to take a look at the 2012/2013 DSA + MID Annual Report, you’ll find it here.