Rome’s Downtown Development Authority celebrated the holidays Friday by honoring people who have made huge contributions to the downtown community.

Kevin Dillmon received the Golden Nail Award for his conversion of a downtrodden building on West Third Street into a new upscale restaurant, Aventine. The blighted property had been vacant for 17 years.

The restaurant features seating for 62 with a private area for another dozen guests and an outdoor patio that can accommodate up to 40. Dillmon was represented by Megan Ware and Tonya Davis at the awards presentation.

Elisabeth Lawson and her team that developed the Between the Rivers Farmers market received the Quality of Life Award. The market operated each Saturday, rain or shine, from April through October in the parking lot at Bridgepoint Plaza and was always packed. The market is only expected to grow as downtown adds more residential properties.

Ira and Libby Levy received the Economic Partnership Award for The Lofts at Third & Broad. The new building features 26 condominium homes and six retail spaces. The Levys have been working on the project for over a decade and it finally opened early this fall.

Suzanne Clonts and Chuck Meeks each received Champion of Downtown Awards.

Clonts can be seen picking up trash along Broad Street regularly, but particularly after events. She and her husband David Clonts are property owners and residents of Broad Street and take care of the street as if it was their front yard.

Meeks is a behind-the-scenes city and county employee who video tapes programs throughout the community and puts in hours and hours in the editing room to get video ready for the Library Channel or social media.

Finally, Clark Jones received the Volunteer of the Year Award for his contributions to the Fiddlin’ Fest in October. Jones helped arrange for all of the bluegrass talent that was on the stages on Broad Street for the day-long event.

DDA Executive Director Amanda Carter also recognized Jay Shell who is leaving the DDA board and Becky Smyth, the Downtown Parking Services Manager who is leaving the DDA office after 12 years to become the city’s purchasing director.

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