Gainesville earns Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence

Published on September 29, 2023


The International Downtown Association (IDA) recognized the City of Gainesville with the 2023 Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence. The award honors the city’s resourceful and innovative approach to revitalizing its historic downtown through work performed by the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area (GCRA), the Department of Sustainable Development, and the University of Florida.  

The Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan was honored in the category of Planning, Design and Infrastructure. This recognizes transformational approaches to master planning, streetscape improvements, sustainable infrastructure and wayfinding. 

“The Downtown Strategic Plan is building an active and equitable space that we all can be proud of,” said Mayor Harvey Ward. “With our community partners, we are creating a downtown that has warmth and charm and is economically vibrant. This progress comes from the city’s focus on growth, preservation, sustainability and infrastructure, and in the private investment that follows this very high level of local commitment.” 

From shaping an identity to creating an authentic regional jewel, the plan in place will provide the map needed to keep guiding downtown to a prosperous future.

“The City of Gainesville has demonstrated skillful application of urban place management principles with their Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “This example should serve as a framework for all member communities within IDA.”

The collaborative team behind the Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan began working on this project in early 2021, with a strong focus on listening to neighbors. Joint funding was provided by the University of Florida and the city through the GCRA. 

A jury of peer professionals reviewed, deliberated and evaluated all entries in the 2023 Downtown Achievement Awards. The Award of Excellence is presented to organizations that have shown extraordinary skill in addressing the challenges that come with managing urban areas.   

The IDA is the premier organization for city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. It represents an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. 

Pictured, from left to right: City of Gainesville Architect Sarit Ben-David Sela; Economic Development and Innovation Director (retired) Erik Bredfeldt; University of Florida Chief of Staff Dr. Carrie Blanchard Bush; Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area Manager Mo Deel; City of Gainesville Chief Operating Officer Andrew Persons; and Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry.

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