Damiani honored downtown
Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Suffolk city leaders and family of Andy Damiani gathered Wednesday afternoon in downtown’s “Character Corner” to honor the former city councilman and mayor.
The corner of Main and Washington streets, where Mr. Peanut sits, will now be known as Damiani Square, and Character Corner will be a part of the shaded corner lot.
“I know that Andy is watching and enjoying this beautiful afternoon,” Mayor Linda Johnson said to the crowd. “He is still with us. There is no way that you can walk down the street and not see him all around downtown.”
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Johnson fondly remembered Damiani walking down Main Street, waving with his cane to all who were passing by.
Damiani served as a member of City Council from 1970 to 1992 and as mayor from 1982 to 1986. From his love of the city of Suffolk, he was named “Mr. Downtown.” After his wife, Mary, passed, he finally made the move to the downtown core after living in the Riverview area.
City Council voted last October to approve the Damiani Square recognition.
Damiani’s nephew, James Daman, got help from Johnson to remove the black sheet from the plaque that memorializes the Suffolk legend. The plaque calls Damiani a “champion of downtown revitalization.”
While Damiani was born in Richmond, he gave his heart and soul to Suffolk.
“His heart was in Suffolk, and he was the biggest cheerleader we had in downtown,” Johnson said. “He wanted everyone to succeed, and if you talked to him long enough, you would know he just wanted to lift someone up.”
Suffolk was so important to Damiani that it influenced his nephew to move to Suffolk as well — though he did move to North Suffolk rather than to Damiani’s loved downtown.
“He would love to be here, and he would be so touched and honored,” Daman said. “On behalf of the Damiani family, I want to say thank you so much.”
The former mayor died Aug. 5, 2017.