Grass Valley Downtown Association honors Fuxjager as Citizen of the Year |

Grass Valley Downtown Association honors Fuxjager as Citizen of the Year

GVDA Executive Director Diane Raymond presents the Citizen of the Year award to Rich Fuxjager.
Submitted photo/Lorraine Jewett |

Rich Fuxjager received the coveted Citizen of the Year award at the Grass Valley Downtown Association’s annual holiday event this week.

“Rich jumps in wherever and whenever needed; a bit like having our own ‘Energizer Bunny.’ Rich helped us move out of one storage unit and condense into our main one, which saved valuable money,” said Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Diane Raymond. “He volunteered and wrapped his arms around Thursday Night Market. We credit him for making that event happen.”

Wednesday night’s party was held at 151 Union Square, the downtown bar Fuxjager owned before he sold it last year. He now works part-time as a manager at Maria’s restaurant.

Fuxjager has been a member of the Grass Valley Downtown Association for 15 of the 32 years he has lived in Nevada County. Next month he is seeking election to a second term on the GVDA Board of Directors.

He’s not resting on his laurels. Fuxjager told the crowd, “I will be the GVDA’s liaison to the South Yuba River Citizens League Wild and Scenic Film Festival. I’m going to work with our merchants to get them more involved. That event will bring 5,000 people to Nevada County in January, and Grass Valley is hosting twice as many film venues as we did last year.”

Invitations referred to the party as a “Friend-Raiser,” not a fundraiser.

“It’s a time to bring members together, make new friends, and have meaningful conversations about where we want to head as an organization,” Raymond said. “Our members give so much. This is a night we’re not asking them to donate, or volunteer, or do anything except get to know each other better.”

Raymond said the Grass Valley Downtown Association is re-inventing itself.

“We need to promote our existing assets such as our wine tasting rooms, great dining, and first-class shops. We’ve learned we don’t need to close streets, shut down downtown, or spend hundreds of volunteer hours to stage a successful event,” Raymond said, pointing to October’s city-wide Ladies’ Night Out as an example.

The Grass Valley Downtown Association is also reaching out to form partnerships with businesses outside the Business Improvement District.

“It makes sense for our larger employers, even if they’re not located downtown, to become associate or corporate members,” Raymond said.

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is one of those employers.

“We’re very supportive of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. Our downtowns are the heart of our community, and a healthy business district is an important part of a healthy community,” SNMH Public Relations/Communications Specialist Brandy Kolmer said,

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer based in Grass Valley.

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