[Mary Beth Nolan]
[Ilana Marczak received the first Green Ole Award for her environmental education efforts at her business, Mill Creek Early Childhood Program Jan 23 at the Batavia Chamber of Commerce Inspire 2020 awards.]
The Ole Awards, with a nod to Scandinavian immigrants who brought the outstanding construction skills that are still evident in Batavia’s historic homes and commercial buildings, celebrated efforts by the city’s business community.
New this year was the presentation of the Green Ole, recognizing environmental efforts.
The prize went to Mill Creek Early Childhood Program, 510 S. Batavia Ave., for its work to encourage its students to be environmental stewards.
“We have a nature-based program,” program founder Ilana Marczak said, focusing on outdoor education.
Ole Awards were presented for new construction and remodeling by both commercial and industrial enterprises.
Midwest Industrial Funds was honored for construction of the Raddant Industrial, Center, 1100 N. Raddant Road. The building is now home to FONA International and DHL Delivery Solutions.
A remodeling award went to Alfagomma Aurora, 950 Douglas Road.
Commercial remodeling award-winners included Bocaditos Café, 109 E. Wilson St. and Dance Dynamics, 79 S. Randall Road
The others included Funway Entertainment Center, 1335 S. River St. and Riverside Pizza & Pub, 142 W. Wilson St.
Funway completed a major remodeling and expansion project, with a new go-cart track and miniature golf course among other improvements.
“It’s nice to be recognized, Funway owner Bob Hansen said. “In our business, change is what we need to provide for our customers.”
Riverside Pizza now occupies a large space in the downtown Batavia Plaza, reinventing what long ago had been a supermarket space, revealing the wood-truss barrel ceiling that is now part of the atmosphere.
For Brian Panozzo, one of Riverside’s partners, the business and the award had brought him full circle.
“I grew up here in Batavia this means the world to me,” Panozzo said.
He said the restaurant’s layout and décor is designed to bring people together.
“It’s a big party that everyone’s been invited to,” Panozzo said.
Inspire Awards Master of Ceremonies Scott Salvati announced the establishment of a new scholarship program for Batavia students by the Chamber of Commerce.
The four scholarships intended to be at least $500 each, are for graduating BHS students attending two- or four-year colleges and universities.
They include scholarships for entrepreneurship, women in business, technical achievers and students who have worked for a chamber-member business while in high school.
Chamber Communications and Membership Coordinator Shirley Mott said more than $7,000 was raised during the award dinner to establish the scholarship fund.