By Amy Woods
A few more stars will shine in Mizner Park this month in honor of those whose public service and volunteerism have enriched the quality of life in Boca Raton.
The awards ceremony for the Walk of Recognition, a permanent memorial beside the Addison Mizner monument in Royal Palm Place, will unfold Nov. 29 when the new nominees are inducted. They are:
• Steven Abrams, former Boca Raton mayor, Palm Beach County mayor and South Florida Regional Transportation executive director. Abrams was widely praised for his handling of the anthrax attact post 9/11, spearheading the annexation of the Town Center area to shore up the city's tax base and lowering taxes.
• John and Arline McNally, supporters of “Keeping the Promise — The Campaign for Boca Raton Regional Hospital” and the Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute’s Tree of Hope and League of Ribbons programs.
• Lynn Russell, who spearheaded the establishment of local community gardens including Allen’s Place Community Garden in Pearl City.
“It’s an extraordinary, lovely event,” co-chairwoman Joyce DeVita said. “It’s a real down-home type of feeling. It’s all about Boca Raton and how people contributed.”
Modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California that celebrates movie stars, the Walk of Recognition pays tribute to local leaders and organizations that have served in the interest of the community.
The Walk of Recognition debuted in 1997 and is overseen by the Boca Raton Historical Society / The Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum.
“It’s changed a lot, but the mission and the meaning have still remained the same,” DeVita said.
“It’s a cross-section of all types of people, but they have each made a big impact and changed the community through their service,” she said. “You can just see what happened, and these are the people who made it happen.”
Each nominee has a named granite star on the walk and a summary description inside the monument. Of the 11 applicants this year, the winners were selected by an independent panel of judges.
“It goes through considerable scrutiny as far as who should be there,” co-chairwoman Marta Batmasian said.
“We honor those who have created something — not just because they go and write a million-dollar check,” she said. “This is one step above. These people have made a distinct change in the lives of the city and its citizens.”
The event will take place at The Addison, the recipient of a fourth honor. A Special Historic Preservation Award will go to the beloved venue — an historically significant structure designed in 1926 by famed architect Addison Mizner.
The venue is considered one of the most important pieces of architecture in South Florida.
Upon arrival at the celebration, guests will be greeted with champagne and hors d’oeuvres prior to proceeding to the ballroom for the formalities. Afterward, everyone enjoys an open bar, food stations and live music.
“Florida is recognized as a place that is not necessarily a community type of state, but Boca Raton is a real community so this is sort of a tribute to that,” Batmasian said. “We hope to continue the celebration for years to come way after I’m gone and Joyce and I are no longer involved.”
If You Go
What: Walk of Recognition
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 29
Where: The Addison, 2 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton
Information: 561-395-6766, ext. 100 or bocahistory.org