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Celebrate Sunnyvale Goes Virtual

They say the show must go on. The City of Sunnyvale’s annual Celebrate Sunnyvale event was held virtually this year. It premiered on YouTube on Sept. 19.

During his State of the City Address, Mayor Larry Klein reflected on the “unimaginable challenges” the city has faced in the past seven months and commended the city’s employees, public service groups and community members that have helped Sunnyvale work through these difficult times.

“Throughout this crisis, I’ve been so proud of how we responded together. Many people have stepped up to the plate, from donating thousands of masks to volunteering hundreds of hours,” said Klein.

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He highlighted the city’s successes from the past year, including the reconstruction of Mathilda Avenue at the 101 and 237 interchange. He also updated the community on other projects including:

  • Rehabilitation of the Fair Oaks Bridge;
  • The underpass on Bernardo at the Caltrain tracks;
  • Work on the Stevens Creek Trail;
  • Renovation of the Washington Swim Center;
  • Fair Oaks Park construction;
  • Rebuilding the wastewater treatment plant;
  • Lakewood Branch Library and Learning Center project;
  • Modernization of the City’s Civic Plaza.

The Community Awards Ceremony followed the State of the City Address.

There were two winners of this year’s biggest award, the Mayor’s Award of Excellence. Mike Johnson, the Director of the Sunnyvale Downtown Association, was the individual winner. Johnson was recognized for his work to create a vibrant Downtown Sunnyvale.

He helped bring an outdoor ice rink to the Downtown area last winter and was instrumental in making Murphy Avenue a pedestrian only zone for expanded outdoor dining after the start of the COVID-19 closures.

“We’re glad to be able to contribute to the downtown and we look forward to this next phase of our downtown development. It’s growth. It’s a future opportunity. Creating new jobs, new space, new business representation, and our community is just going to be doing that much better,” said Johnson in his acceptance speech.

Our Daily Bread received the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for a group. Our Daily Bread is a nonprofit outreach program that works out of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Since 1983, Our Daily Bread has served free hot meals three days a week to hungry people.

During COVID-19, Our Daily Bread created to go meals to keep the homeless safe. They are currently serving nearly 200 diners a day.

The city’s other winners were announced ahead of time. They included:

  • Contribution to the Arts: Jan Knight. Knight leads a weekly open painting program at the Sunnyvale Community Center.
  • Educator of the Year: Jesus Ramirez. Ramirez serves as the family and community liaison for Fremont High School. He works closely with underserved students to connect them to vital resources.
  • High School Student of the Year: Peri Platenberg. The Homestead High School junior has led workshops to teach her peers about leadership and climate advocacy and helped organize Sunnyvale’s virtual climate speaker series.
  • Environmental Achievement: Kristel Wickham. Wickham worked tirelessly on the City’s Climate Action Playbook and serves on several city committees including the Sustainability Commission.
  • Business of the Year: Sunnyvale Community Services. Sunnyvale Community Services helped nearly 6,000 people last year and stepped up this year to meet the increasing need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Distinguished Resident of the Year: Greg and Kristi Brodzioch. They are the co-founders of E-Sports, a free, inclusive sports program for children. E-Sports was started 20 years ago “…with the goal of seeing typical kids and their peers with special needs playing a sport together.”

You can watch the State of the City Address and the Community Awards ceremony on Sunnyvale’s YouTube channel.

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