Medallion project wins ‘Idea’ grant

Chamber panel’s proposal gets $5,000 SAF grant

Downtown Revitalization Committee co-chairs Cory Buettner, owner of Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, left, and Todd Streeter, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, right, accept a $5,000 check from Jill Greenhalgh, president of the Stillwater Area Foundation. The manhole cover shows the approximate size of the sidewalk medallions proposed by the DRC for the downtown area. (Submitted photos)

Downtown Revitalization Committee co-chairs Cory Buettner, owner of Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, left, and Todd Streeter, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, right, accept a $5,000 check from Jill Greenhalgh, president of the Stillwater Area Foundation. The manhole cover shows the approximate size of the sidewalk medallions proposed by the DRC for the downtown area. (Submitted photos)

It might not have been a million-dollar idea, but it got the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce $5,000.

“The Medallion Project,” an idea submitted by the chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee, beat out 15 other ideas to win the inaugural Stillwater Area Foundation’s Great Idea competition. The foundation board announced the winning idea at its annual reception June 12.

The Medallion Project would install bronzed or tile medallions along downtown Stillwater sidewalks denoting historic buildings and locations similar to the “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood, Calif.

The SAF created the Great Idea Competition to support new projects and ideas in the community, according to Jill Greenhalgh, foundation board chairwoman. She added that selecting the contest winner was difficult because of so many deserving entries.

“It was difficult to choose because we received so many strong and intriguing ideas,” she said. “If only we had another $70,000 we could fund them all, from the public art bike rack project to the new community celebration event or the clever health tool kit. However, the board unanimously supported the winning proposal of ‘The Medallion Project’.”

“We are honored to receive the grant,” said Chamber Executive Director Todd Streeter. “We see this project turning into a long-term sustainable display. We believe ‘The Medallion Project’ grant will become the catalyst for continued medallion inductions and funding support from the greater Stillwater community.”

The DRC said in its competition proposal the medallions would be an easy visual way for visitors to learn about Stillwater’s history and promote local commerce. The DRC noted that there are many historic downtown buildings but few easy, affordable and accessible education efforts.

The proposal said The Medallion Project would be a collaboration among the SAF, Chamber, DRC, Washington County Historical Society, city, property owners, businesses, organizations and residents.

“We envision ‘The Medallion Project’ being a tool for supporters who want to work together in promoting Stillwater’s unique history as ‘the birthplace of Minnesota’ while generating a renewed sense of pride for the community’s rich history,” Streeter said.

Placement of medallions would be based on interest from property owners wanting a medallion placed in front of their building. The Chamber said the DRC has already received interest from some property owners, and believes interest in the project will grow.

The SAF grant will cover the initial costs of an estimated two to three medallions. Chamber and DRC officials believe the grant and initial medallions will spark community interest and support of the project.

Research by the Chamber and DRC indicates that several cities with similar medallion artwork saw renewed interest in those location’s histories.

“Medallions have been proven to add to vitality of downtown areas,” Streeter said.
“The Medallion Project” coincides with the DRC’s downtown revitalization goal and a committee for the project will be formed soon. Contact the Chamber at 651-439-4001 or www.GreaterStillwaterChamber.com for more information about the project or ways to participate and sponsor a medallion.

Contact Erik Sandin at erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

Downtown Revitalization Committee co-chairs Cory Buettner, owner of Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, left, and Todd Streeter, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, right, accept a $5,000 check from Jill Greenhalgh, president of the Stillwater Area Foundation. The manhole cover shows the approximate size of the sidewalk medallions proposed by the DRC for the downtown area. (Submitted photos)
This photo shows Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop when it was the Byron J. Mosier cigar store at the corner of Chestnut and Main streets in 1895. The building celebrates 125 years of service this fall.

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