The Historic Aiken Foundation's 2012 Awards, held Sunday afternoon at the Aiken Center for the Arts, was an opportunity to recognize those individuals who helped to preserve the historic character responsible for making Aiken one of the nation's most charming and unique cities.Awards recognizing businesses and citizens for their preservation efforts were presented in four categories.Phillip and Ann Johnston received the 2011 President's Award for restoring Cassina Cottage. The home had to be completely redone, and Advanced Systems Management Inc.'s Patrick Napolitan, who was recommended by Realtor Robyn Reilly, played a large role in the restoration effort, said Phillip Johnston, who showed great appreciation for the award."It was a labor of love," said Johnston, who grew up in Aiken at Rose Roof.Cutter and Hayes Mitchell of Ryan's Downtown Deli & Market were recognized for the improvements they made to the building their business is located in on Laurens Street and received the Historic Aiken Adaptive Use Award."We wanted to give it a classic look, so it would fit into the downtown area," said Cutter Mitchell, who said they wanted the building to have the appearance of a deli from the early 1900s.The Willcox received the Historic Aiken Stewardship Award in recognition of outstanding upkeep of a key historic property in Aiken. Geoffrey Ellis recounted how they acquired the property that was recognized by Conde Nast Travelers magazine as one of the top 50 small hotels in the United States.The Toole Hill Renovation project was also among those acknowledged at Sunday's ceremony. The restoration and improvements to the area were part of a 10-year plan during which the City of Aiken Neighborhood and Development Services work closely with the Toole Hill Neighborhood Association in what was truly a community effort to help improve the quality of life in the north side of the city.More than 300 lots were cleared, about a dozen houses demolished and 30 to 40 new homes were built, said Robert Stack of the Historic Aiken Foundation. Streetscaping, the addition of street lights, installation of sidewalks and implementation of programs such as Teens Teach Tennis and the Neighborhood Garden have made Toole Hill an exemplary model for changing a neighborhood through innovative strategies and solutions.Robert and Mary Lee McQuinn were among the winners of the Wilds-Lipe Preservation Treasured Award for the restoration of their residence, a home they purchased after they moved back to Aiken. However, it was Rusty Finley who was responsible for the home's restoration work.The 2012 Historic Aiken Foundation Award ceremony recognizing citizens and businesses for the preservation efforts in 2011Historic Adaptive Use Award - Ryan's Downtown Deli & MarketHistoric Aiken Stewardship Award - The WillcoxToole Hill Renovation - City of Aiken Neighborhood Development Services and the Toole Hill Neighborhood AssociationHistoric Aiken President's Award - Phillip and Ann Johnston for Cassina CottageThe Wilds-Lipe Treasured Home Awards - Robert and Mary Lee McQuinn and Rusty Finley for Fern Cottage; Dennis and Sandra Terry for Rose Roof; and Polly Cooley for Yorkshire House (award accepted by Suzan McHugh)
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