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Recap: Toast to Downtown's Future at the BDA 49th Annual Celebration

February 17, 2023 - by Sandy Vo & Katie Gosa

Recap: Toast to Downtown's Future at the BDA 49th Annual Celebration

On Thursday, February 9th, 400+ business and community leaders joined the BDA for the 49th Annual Celebration. Let’s go through some of the highlights of the night.

Keynote Conversation

Our evening was filled with great conversations, networking over drinks, board member recognition and a discussion about inclusivity in Downtown from 2023 Board Chair Trinity Parker, and a fascinating keynote program with Jennifer Vey and Nate Storring, editors of Hyperlocal: Place Governance in a Fragmented World. Putter Bert moderated the conversation on placemaking where Storring and Vey encouraged the mess that comes with building a vibrant and lively downtown.

"Clean and safe is overrated," Storring said. "People don’t want dirty and dangerous — that’s not what I’m suggesting. But there’s a big difference between dirty and messy.”

Vey agrees, and mention that strategically messy placemaking can help bring more people to Downtown. She said placemaking can often be low on the list, but in reality, it should be a priority to creating a Downtown experience that people want to be a part of. 

Ross Jacobson Accepts the John Boespflug City Builder Award

The most heartwarming moment of the BDA’s 49th Annual Celebration was the announcement of the John Boespflug City Builder Award recipient. Ross Jacobson is a community leader, former 2014 BDA board chair, and KidsQuest’s first board chair. We honored him for his longtime civic work and the  positive impact he has made in Downtown Bellevue. 

Discover the Heart of Bellevue

During the BDA Annual Celebration, we heard #HeartofBellevue stories of small businesses that have made a huge impact in our community. The strength of our human connections will continue to inspire the work of the BDA – it truly is what sets Downtown Bellevue apart. This campaign is designed to connect and promote local businesses while building vibrancy in Downtown Bellevue. We’re sharing stories of activitycreativity and recovery to bring vitality back to our urban core. If you have a story you'd like to share, we want to help you tell them. Please submit your story on our website here

Want a glimpse of the phenomenal evening? You can find a full photo gallery down below. 

Special thanks to our presenting sponsors: Amazon, Puget Sound Energy, Symetra, Sweeney Conrad, and The Spring District. 

A BIG thank you to our corporate sponsors: Boeing, City of Bellevue, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Microsoft, Mortenson, Sterling Realty Organization, Vulcan Real Estate, and WaFd Bank. 

Finally, we'd like to thank our supporting sponsors  Baylis Architects, Clark Nuber PS, First Tech Federal Credit Union, GLY Construction, Heritage Bank, Parker, Smith & Feek, Seattle Children's, Su Development and media partners, 425 Business and GeekWire. 

Missed out on the event? Save the date for this time next year for BDA's 50th Annual Celebration and  subscribe to the Heart of Bellevue newsletter to stay up to date on all things Downtown.