Riverside Avondale an American Top 10 Neighborhood

October 13, 2010 148 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Riverside Avondale has been honored by the American Planning Association (APA) as one of the country's 10 Great Neighborhoods under the APA's Great Places in America program. Riverside Avondale is the first neighborhood in Florida to receive this prestigious national recognition.

APA’s Great Places in America program celebrates places of exemplary character, quality and planning and cited RAP’s advocacy and preservation efforts as central to the neighborhood’s success. “RAP wouldn’t exist without our passionate volunteers – much less receive this kind of recognition,” said Carmen Godwin, RAP’s Executive Director. “This honor is really a testament to almost 40 years of civic engagement and effort by the residents and volunteers of this community.”

“We’re very excited to name Riverside Avondale as one of this year’s Great Neighborhoods,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “The neighborhood is Jacksonville’s hidden gem.”

The APA also lauded RAP for its role in securing federal historic status for the neighborhood, sponsoring community events and encouraging preservation and planning efforts. “RAP and the neighborhood serve as the model for the city’s historic preservation program. RAP fights inappropriate zoning and insensitive institutional expansion, helping change the city’s approach to planning and zoning in historic districts,” continued Farmer.

The Riverdale Inn - An example of Adaptive Reuse

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with this wonderful national honor,” said Wayne Wood, founder of RAP. "Riverside Avondale is a neighborhood of rich diversity – ethnically, economically and architecturally – whose citizens have remained steadfastly engaged for more than a generation to protect and enrich this exemplary American neighborhood."

The weekly Riverside Arts Market, one of many events that RAP holds each year

In its Great Neighborhood designation, the APA also honored the efforts of local planners and city officials in adopting a historic preservation element as part of Jacksonville’s Comprehensive Plan in 1990. Kay Ehas, current chair of RAP’s Board of Directors, said, “Riverside Avondale has been fortunate to have its past and present council members and Bill Killingsworth (the city’s Planning Department Director) as champions of historic preservation and our neighborhoods. We look forward to their ongoing support as we strive to make the neighborhood even better.”

For more information visit: http://www.planning.org/greatplaces/neighborhoods/2010/