Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority honored with Main Street Area Association Dennis Serras award

Community members dine and walk around a closed Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. (Sarah Parlette, WDIV)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s action and community focus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it the 2021 Dennis Serras award honoree.

Since 2018, Main Street Area Association has given the award to community members who support MSAA’s mission and the development of downtown Tree Town.

“One of the first phone calls I got when talks of a shutdown began in 2020 was from Maura at the DDA. She asked, ‘how can we help.’ And, from that moment forward I was getting regular phone calls as the DDA team took action, " said Sandra Andrade, Executive Director of Main Street Area Association.

“Everyone on that team worked to explore ideas, identify best practices, and what logistics and processes were needed to make meaningful responses & support happen for our businesses.”

It is named after Dennis Serras, a prominent restaurateur with Mainstreet Ventures Inc. who brought Palio, Real Seafood Co. and Gratzi to Main Street.

Since the pandemic started, Ann Arbor DDA has supported businesses in the area with efforts including:

  • creative curbside pick-up areas for local businesses
  • distributing free PPE kits
  • facilitating research for block closures and patio extensions
  • promoting downtown businesses in local media
  • paying for downtown flower bed and sidewalk occupancy permits
  • financially supporting the “Show Your Love for Downtown” campaign

“In the past this award has gone to individuals. I couldn’t be more happy that this time around it is going to a team of people that have truly made an impact to support our downtown during most likely its toughest time in history,” Andrade said in a statement.

Previous Dennis Serras award recipients include All About Ann Arbor’s Meredith Bruckner, radio personality Lucy Ann Lance and IT professional Lauren Kosowski.

Learn more about the award and previous recipients here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.