The City of Ocala has been named a winner in the Florida Redevelopment Association (FRA) awards ceremony. The Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place was recognized in the category of Outstanding New Building Project.

The annual awards ceremony celebrates the exceptional accomplishments of city and county organizations from across the state of Florida in the field of redevelopment and community enhancement.

The FRA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Florida professionals and volunteers engaged in community redevelopment initiatives, annually bestows awards that acknowledge the remarkable achievements of various organizations and programs throughout the state. The Roy F. Kenzie Awards commend excellence across diverse categories, encompassing everything from rehabilitation renovation and management programs to cultural enrichment and housing.

Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) and development organizations serve as catalysts for the enhancement of cities and urban areas through redevelopment initiatives. These organizations are overseen by boards that are composed of five to seven members, separate from local governments. CRAs primarily focus on projects and plans that contribute to economic development, stimulate growth, and foster increased community engagement.

“The Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place is a symbol of perseverance,” stated Aubrey Hale, City of Ocala Planning Director. “This site is successful due to community champions working with city staff to convert an area that was contaminated due to a previous charcoal plant, to an area where the community can gather, play, and thrive. The center provides not only invaluable programming but also access to art of all varieties. The Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place fills a great need for the area and will only promote growth as time goes on.”

Within 12 juried categories, the Roy F. Kenzie Awards celebrate the most innovative and effective redevelopment programs in Florida. All entries for the FRA Awards undergo a thorough assessment and evaluation, considering factors such as effectiveness, completeness, narrative quality, creativity, supplemental materials and adherence to submission guidelines.

“Congratulations to all our Roy F. Kenzie Award winners. This year’s conference was a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of our community, as we came together to celebrate the outstanding achievements in redevelopment,” said Brenda Thrower, FRA Board Vice President. “Many thanks to the FRA Board, Conference Committee, members, exhibitors, sponsors, participants, and staff who made the conference a resounding success. Your participation and contributions significantly enriched the experience for all.”

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