Thursday, August 4, 2022

Good deeds

Annual Whipple award presented to Malcolms

Mark and Patty Malcolm were
honored with the prestigious
Ruth Huston-Whipple
Award by Mayor Nick Marosz,
right, Monday. 
The prestigious Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement was awarded this year to Mark and Patty Malcolm.
The couple, longtime Plymouth residents, have been unstinting community supporters and historic preservationists in the city of Plymouth, officials said. The award is presented annually by the city commission and is recognition of exceptional civic and/or philanthropic engagement within the City of Plymouth
“The Malcolms truly exemplify putting both time and talents to work for their community and creating the best version of Plymouth for future generations to enjoy,” officials said. To be considered for the award, individuals must demonstrate the impact of service to the community, delivered with leadership, integrity and perseverance, and should have contributed to the economic vitality and/or residential quality of life in Plymouth above and beyond reasonable expectations.

The Malcolms have been dedicated to historic preservation of some of the most iconic and treasured buildings in the city.  They have given countless hours, sweat equity, and millions of dollars to this passion  and respect for history. In 2007, the couple saved a severely dilapidated home, one of the oldest in Plymouth, from the wrecking ball. Built circa 1834 and commonly referred to as “Pumpkin Hill”, the completed restoration became the cover story for an HGTV Magazine article on “Copy the Curb Appeal” and marked the beginning of major residential improvements along Adams Street, officials said.

In 2015, the couple purchased the circa 1935 U.S. Post Office and adjacent vacant lot in downtown Plymouth and subsequently adaptively repurposed the property as a much-needed community grocer, Westborn Market. Retaining much of the original character of the building, including the iconic 1938 wall mural entitled “Plymouth Trail”, this project won the top state award for preservation of an historic building and the Michigan Downtown Association award for best economic development. 

Then, in 2015, the Malcolms purchased the 100-year-old Central Middle/former Plymouth High School and donated the building and property which is now the Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex (PARC), whose mission is: “To enrich lives through arts, education, and recreation programs for all ages.” The donation included conditions that require the building to forever be used as a community-oriented non-profit and retain the historic character. 

The Malcolms continue to devote considerable time and money to help repair, restore, improve, and develop the PARC. One of the busiest places in Plymouth, the 150,000 square-foot building is fully occupied, with more than 50 organizations making PARC their home. The re-developed parking lot includes what the state environmental agency called “the gold standard” for rain-garden projects, and Malcolms have spent many hours beautifying the property by planting trees, mulching, weeding, and planting new beds. 
Patty Malcolm served on the Plymouth Historic District Commission from 2007 to 2013, and Mark Malcolm was a member of the Downtown Development Authority from 2003-2009. She is a founding member of the Plymouth Preservation Network, is on the board of Plymouth Pollinators, and the couple lends many other worthwhile Plymouth non-profit organizations their support, which helps contribute to the vibrancy and reach of these groups, city officials said. 

“For the Malcolms' significant and longstanding contributions to maintaining the historic charm of Plymouth, and their willingness to actively work to make the city a more beautiful, livable community, the Malcolms are an excellent selection for the Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement,” said Plymouth Mayor Nick Moroz.