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 October 23, 2019


Senator Debbie Stabenow to be Honored with Milestone Award at Michigan Auto Heritage Day on Wednesday, October 30 in Lansing

On Wednesday, October 30, the MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership will honor U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and nine finalists who have distinguished themselves in the areas of auto and labor heritage with its 6th annual Awards of Excellence.

A winner in each of the three categories -- revitalization, education and tourism -- will be announced during Michigan Auto Heritage Day, an invitation-only event for state lawmakers in the Capitol Rotunda in Lansing.

Senator Stabenow will be honored with MotorCities’ annual Milestone Award. She has supported MotorCities from its beginning, co-signing the original authorizing legislation in 1998 when she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, she was responsible for passing legislation earlier this year that lifts the cap on the amount of appropriations that MotorCities can accept from $10 million to $12 million, paving the way for the organization to continue normal operations for four more years. This language was placed into the Public Lands Bill, subsequently known as the John D. Dingell Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, which passed Congress in February and was signed into law in March.  This funding allows the organization to continue to fund programs and grants across the 10,000 square mile heritage area. MotorCities’ support of education, revitalization and tourism projects related to automotive and labor history account for $410 million in annual economic impact and more than 4,000 jobs.

“Senator Stabenow has been a champion for MotorCities for its entire 20+-year history,” said Shawn Pomaville-Size, MotorCities executive director. “This award is a way to express our gratitude for her past and ongoing support.”

Finalists for the award for Revitalization include:

·        The Cherry Hill Ford Factory Complex in Canton, which is working to restore an original Henry Ford Village Industry Factory and Dormitory in order to offer veterans programming – the same purpose it served when Ford opened the facility in the 1940s;

·        and the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park in Detroit, where ground was broken earlier this month. The Fort Rouge Gateway (FRoG) group, whose mission is to “create, conserve and promote greenways and green spaces in order to connect people, places and nature,” supported the interpretive park to commemorate the Ford Hunger March, which forged the way for the creation of the United Auto Workers.

Finalists for the award for Interpretation and Education include:

·       The 30th Detroit Grand Prix for holding educational exhibits at the Detroit Historical Museum, as well as at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park to celebrate Grand Prix heritage with artifacts, memorabilia, imagery and a retrospective overview of the race’s history;

·       “R.E. Olds and the First Motor City,” a documentary that used historic photographs and film, interviews, and live footage to showcase the story of Ransom Eli Olds and the city of Lansing, where automobiles were first mass-produced;

·       SAE International for their Mobility History Committee comprised of students, academics, business, industry, and retirees sharing their extensive knowledge on transportation history through presentations, publications, and other media and outreach - creating interest in the technological needs of the future;

·       and Steve Purdy of Williamston for his championing of the annual Auto Heritage Awards and partnering with the annual Concours d’Elegance to target an international list of journalists who cover the entire industry.

Finalists for the award for Heritage Tourism are the following:

·        Back to the Bricks, the annual Flint event, which paved the road for other organizations to turn toward the city of Flint to host their events downtown;

·       Don and Gayle Nicholson for organizing numerous car cruises in the metro Detroit community which involve multiple organizations and promote the heritage of the community and the automobile;

·       and Emily Wiegand of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners for her efforts to highlight the museum through social media engagement, spending countless hours participating in all aspects of museum programming to share with potential audiences.

Michigan Automotive Heritage Day and the Awards of Excellence began in 2014 and have become an annual opportunity to celebrate the story that can only be told in Michigan: how this area "Put The World On Wheels."