During Monday's annual State of the City address, Upper Arlington officials recognized the long awaited culmination of many years' effort to redevelop the Kingsdale Shopping Center, awarding Upper Arlington resident Mark Catalano and Fairway Realty in the business awards category of the 2009 Community Service Awards.

During Monday's annual State of the City address, Upper Arlington officials recognized the long awaited culmination of many years' effort to redevelop the Kingsdale Shopping Center, awarding Upper Arlington resident Mark Catalano and Fairway Realty in the business awards category of the 2009 Community Service Awards.

Council president Frank Ciotola said the awards "honor those individuals and organizations that have given exceptional service to our community, to express our gratitude for their invaluable contributions."

Emma Speight, deputy city manager for community affairs, said Catalano was widely perceived to be the likely favorite.

"The sense was that Mark's receiving this award was a given because of the magnitude of the project and what that means for Upper Arlington," Speight said. "We had many deserving business nominated, but Kingsdale has long been on the minds of community, and to see the change finally happen is a real cause for celebration."

Council member Wade Steen presented the award.

"What got the attention was that this was a project that many thought could not be done or could never be done," Steen said. "They had almost come to accept that it was just going to sit there."

One of the central elements of the project was giving Giant Eagle an opportunity to put a premiere facility into the center.

"The only similar store is in Pittsburgh," Steen said. "There is none like it in Ohio.

"Mark's coming together with Continental (Realty) and knowing that Giant Eagle wanted a new state of the art space was key," Steen said. "Mark's ability was to recruit new tenants -- who's going to be here, future office development along Zollinger. That is what makes it work."

Winning the Youth Award were the fourth-grade students of Barrington Elementary teachers Katie Benton and Bonnie Emery, whose "Beat Michigan! Beat Cancer! Racing to Beat Ovarian Cancer" event, begun after two students lost family members to the same disease, greatly exceeded organizer's expectations and raised more than $22,000 for cancer research.

Other 2009 Award winners included:

City Employee Distinguished Service Awards to Melissa Kohler, clerk of the mayor's court, Lisa Metcalf, horticulturist, and Jerry Moore, fire battalion chief. Community Enrichment Award to Bill and Bobbi Richards for their work in developing the Hastings Middle School Veterans Day Program and other significant work in honor of veterans, including raising more than $250,000 over the course of their efforts. Community Safety Award to the Jones Middle School for its efforts on International Walk to School Day. Super Senior Award to Susan Knell for work with the historical society, among many other community efforts.

During her state of the city address, city manager Virginia Barney noted the city's strong fiscal health, reflected by a continued Triple A bond rating, nearly $60-million in private development during the year, and upcoming work to reevaluate the city's master plan and to establish performance auditing standards in coordination with other central Ohio communities.

"We are learning to apply a set of performance measures to our overall delivery of services," Barney said. "We will compare what each city does in order to share best practices, seek partnership opportunities, and brainstorm new and more cost-effective ways to get the job done."