Greg Haffner, attorney at Curran Law Firm and avid community volunteer in downtown Kent, received the Excellence on Main Award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards ceremony on April 25 in Ellensburg.
The ceremony was in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, the state’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.
The Kent Downtown Partnership (KDP) nominated Haffner for his long-term, community-minded commitment to the downtown district. He has served as KDP’s legal counsel for 10 years, taking a brief break from this role to serve as KDP board president in 2016. Haffner has been a steady, positive force in downtown Kent’s revitalization efforts for more than a decade.
As board president, Haffner attended committee meetings at least once and went out of his way to learn more about staff responsibilities, all in an effort to better understand the scope and nuances of the organization, the KDP said. By doing so, Haffner became even more of an advocate for the program and its staff, taking on more projects and encouraging other board members to do the same to help relieve the workload on KDP’s staff of two.
According to the KDP, Haffner is well known and respected in downtown Kent and is a fixture in the businesses. Whether it’s help with a city permitting process or a recommendation for a good locksmith, Haffner is consistently sharing information and offering his assistance to small business owners. Often in these interactions, Haffner will learn about issues facing downtown, such as noise pollution from the trains that run through downtown Kent several times a day.
According to the KDP, Haffner is solutions-oriented when presented with these types of concerns, putting together working committees or advocating to the city for necessary changes, and he is known for his positive attitude and follow-through.
“Greg inspires, empowers, and accomplishes so much without expecting recognition. He not only plans the event or design project but is the first one there to set-up and the last one there tearing-down,” said Barbara Smith, KDP executive director. “There is no better spokesperson for the Kent Downtown Partnership than Greg. He is the board member that all executive directors dream about.”
Haffner has also championed a renewed preservation ethic in downtown Kent. He has taken it upon himself to engage with state trainings and conferences, as well as bringing preservation resources to downtown Kent’s property owners. As with countless initiatives before, Haffner saw a need to preserve and fully-utilize downtown Kent’s historic buildings, and he is taking action to improve conditions to benefit his community.
“People are the greatest assets of any thriving Main Street program, and Greg is an exceptional asset to the Kent Downtown Partnership,” said Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Coordinator. “Downtown revitalization does not happen overnight, but rather takes long-term commitment, passion, and innovation – all of which Greg Haffner has in spades.”
The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, recognize communities, organizations and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Excellence on Main Award, the highest honor presented to one community, organization, or person each year, recognizes outstanding projects and people that reflect an attitude of perseverance and dedication to community revitalization in Washington.