Evelyn Allen honored as Bay Village’s Citizen of the Year

Evelyn Allen has been selected as the 2017 Bay Village Citizen of the Year. Photo by Denny Wendell

Bay Village Community Council selects the Play in Bay renovation for Project of the Year

When a community project needs an organizer, Bay Village civic groups have known for years where to turn. Whether it’s a club fundraiser, a church committee or one of the biggest celebrations in the city’s history, Evelyn Allen is the volunteer for the job. Her involvement in the Bay Village Historical Society, the Bay Village Bicentennial Committee, St. Raphael’s Parish and The Bay Village Foundation were among just some of the reasons the Bay Village Community Council chose to honor Evelyn as its 2017 Citizen of the Year.

Evelyn has been a member of the historical society for 38 of her 40 years as a resident of Bay Village, volunteering in the gift shop and as a guide at Rose Hill Museum. She also co-chaired the elegant “Victorian Tea” events for years and organized a very successful “Downton Abbey” fundraiser in November 2015.

“Evelyn is one of our treasured members upon whom you could always count to step forward when needed and do an outstanding job,” said Cathy Flament, president of the Bay Village Historical Society. “We have been so fortunate over the years to have been part of her community commitment.”

In 2010, Evelyn joined with Carole Roske, Dave Tadych and Tom Phillips to form the Bicentennial Committee and organize a year of activities to celebrate the city’s founding.

“Evelyn Allen's expertise in public relations and marketing was instrumental in making the Bay Village Bicentennial a stunning success,” said Cynthia Eakin, former Bay Village Historical Society president. “She knew all of the right people in all of the right places and managed to involve the entire community in a wonderful event.”

Faith has been a guiding force in Evelyn’s life. She founded the Friends of the West Side Catholic Center in Cleveland and has helped to raise more than $1 million for the women and children’s shelter. She is active in the parish at St. Raphael’s Church, serving as a Eucharistic Minister and assisting with planning, communication and leadership activities.

“Evelyn is a very gifted, talented and conscientious leader whose impact on our community will remain with us for years to come,” said Fr. Tim Gareau. “Her abounding energy, incredible faith and stable leadership draws so many together to accomplish the work of the Lord. She is remarkable in all that she is asked to undertake.”

Joining the Bay Village Foundation board in 2007, Evelyn has been a tireless fundraiser for that organization as well. Using her marketing background, she has helped to increase the Foundation’s visibility and serves as an advocate for grant-seeking civic groups.

Al Paulus, president of The Bay Village Foundation, was quick to praise Evelyn’s involvement in many civic organizations.

“There are no words that can really describe Evelyn and the impact she has had, and continues to have, on the Bay community,” Paulus said. “Whether you are talking about her work for The Bay Village Foundation, her efforts at the Historical Society, her commitment to St. Raphael’s Parish, or the many other organizations she is part of, she does it all. She is just an outstanding person – a wonderful lady, a tireless worker and a true friend.”

It takes a generous heart and a humble spirit to dedicate as much of one’s life to others as Evelyn has. Her reaction to the Citizen of the Year accolades demonstrates that she possesses these qualities in abundance.

“I don’t think that you thank a Citizen of the Year; you thank the community because it’s the community that gets things done,” Evelyn said. “Volunteering is not an individual effort. People are just so good, they’re willing to jump right in and give their time – which is the most important thing they can give.”

Play in Bay renovation a community-wide effort

In awarding the Project of the Year designation, the Bay Village Community Council considers several factors, including community impact and the involvement of volunteers and organizations.

The selection committee agreed that the Play in Bay renovation project was a clear winner.

The playground has been a community attraction for two decades, with parents who enjoyed Play in Bay as youngsters now bringing their own children. The Bay Village Foundation, which was formed for the construction of the playground in 1995, wanted to ensure that future generations will be able to make their own memories at Play in Bay.

The Foundation embarked on a yearlong fundraising campaign, securing more than $100,000 in donations from the city, civic groups and more than 350 Bay Village residents. Work to refurbish and upgrade the play structures began last December and is expected to be completed in the spring.

This is the second time Play in Bay has been celebrated as Project of the Year; the first coming 1995 when it was built, again as the result of the community coming together to accomplish a goal.

“It is a tremendous honor that the Play in Bay project has been recognized as the Project of the Year both this year and 20 years ago when the original project was completed,” said Rich Veres, vice president of The Bay Village Foundation. “Play in Bay is a symbol of community here in Bay Village. Many people donated time, money and invested their influence to update the playground to serve the families and children in our town.”

A community reception to honor Evelyn Allen and the Play in Bay renovation project will be announced when the details are finalized.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:59 AM, 02.07.2017