By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
The Spirit of Scottsdale awards, sponsored by the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, recognize people and places that embody the spirit of our community by preserving, improving and strengthening neighborhoods.
“These awards are very dear to the Neighborhood Advisory Commission,” said Commission Staff Coordinator Brandon McMahon.
“They provide an opportunity to recognize those who are involved in strengthening neighborhood identity and provide unique contributions to Scottsdale’s neighborhoods.”
Due to the pandemic, the city is recognizing the 2019 and 2020 award winners. Two categories of winners, Individual and Group/Organization, were selected for both years.
The 2020 Individual Winner was Dana Close. Neighbors describe Close as a beacon of light and hope for their South Scottsdale Hacienda del Ray neighborhood. The area was in need of a facelift. Close joined her homeowners association and regularly attended city council meetings. Thanks in part to her efforts, the city council prioritized the redevelopment of the McDowell Road Corridor. To showcase the improved neighborhood, Close created annual Scottsdale Home Tour events. Her efforts changed the way people thought and talked about South Scottsdale.
Besides Close, winners include:
The 2019 Individual Winner — Marilyn Perkins: Perkins is a tireless volunteer with a huge heart. She has been an Old Town Ambassador far longer than when the city officially kicked off the program in 2006. Ambassadors serve as a primary point of contact for Old Town Scottsdale visitors.
2019 Group/Organization Winner — First Christian Church: A tight group of 12 members has supported Operation Fix It for the last 10 years. Operation Fix It provides assistance to Scottsdale homeowners who need exterior improvements but are unable to do so due to physical or financial limitations. Many clients are elderly and face potential code enforcement fines. This not-so-dirty dozen annually contributes 180 volunteer service hours.
2020 Group/Organization Winner — Parada del Sol Committee: Years ago, when the Parada del Sol and Trails End celebration were at a crossroads, this small group of dedicated volunteers took over the planning and execution of these historical events. The committee works hundreds of hours each year to ensure these traditions continue. Recently, it forged a partnership with the nonprofit Charros to add horsepower to the game.
The Scottsdale City Council virtually recognized the winners at a recent council meeting.