Riverside Avondale Preservation holds annual meeting

Riverside Avondale Preservation holds annual meeting
Front: Nancy Powell, Lawson Carr, Daniel Miller, Iris Eisenberg, Christina Bottomley, Angela Schifanella; back: Mark Moss, Bill Shelton, Allan DeVault, Rick Pariani, Janice Young, Thad Crowe

It was nearly “standing room only” with well over 130 in attendance at the 44th Riverside Avondale Preservation annual meeting Feb. 15 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

After remarks by Keith Holt, board chair, Adrienne Burke, executive director, and John Silveira, Riverside Arts Market senior market manager, the meeting was turned over to Julia Burns, of Converse Consulting, for a brief presentation.

Burns shared general results of the survey, focus groups and interviews she conducted last fall as part of RAP’s strategic planning efforts. Burns noted that of the 455 online survey respondents, 361 (79 percent) live in the historic district; 237 (52 percent) are current or past members of RAP. The focus groups included 31 residents, eight landlords, realtors and architects, and six merchants, while Burns conducted 15 interviews with elected officials, “opinion” leaders and detractors.

A look at survey responses indicate 111 respondents put architectural integrity at the top of the characteristics they feel are essential to the historic neighborhood. Less traffic and fewer retail/restaurant chains were two of the highest dislikes. A future town hall meeting is planned to share the results in detail with the community.

Zoning Committee Chair Nancy Powell noted that the four largest projects approved last year were not in the historic district. They include River & Post Restaurant in the Summit building; Wendy’s in 5 Points; the TriBridge Residential Apartments on Bishopgate Lane, and RiverVue, another apartment complex under construction at the former St. Johns Village near Fishweir Elementary School.

“None of their plans had to go through the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission,” said Powell. “What that confirmed for me is the true value of being in a historic district, because for 95 percent of the district the plans do go through the Historic Preservation Commission.”

Holt and Burke presented preservation awards, which were selected by credentialed judges Jose Miranda, principal architect with Miranda Associates; Jenny Wolfe, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of St. Augustine,  and Melissa Wyllie, executive director for the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, based in Tallahassee.

Those receiving awards include Gino Cogorno of Real Estate Pros of North Florida, for New Construction at 2550 College Street in the Florida frame vernacular style; Luke and Mary Jensen, for a large-scale (interior and exterior) residential rehabilitation of their home at 2637 College Street; Angel Corrales of Austin Historical, for a small-scale (exterior) residential rehabilitation of the windows at the 1922 Fenimore Apartments, 2200 Riverside Ave.; and Christina and Jeff Starmer of Center Beam Construction for a small-scale (interior) residential rehabilitation of the G. W. Gibbs Jr. House, a pre-1913 building at 1817 Bayard Place.

Other awards included Regions Bank as Neighborhood Friendly Business; Angel Corrales and Joel McEachin as Neighborhood Advocates; and Keith Holt as Outstanding Volunteer and Board Member.

The meeting wrapped with election of the 2018 Board of Directors, with Nancy Powell serving as chair, Lawson Carr as secretary and Bill Shelton as treasurer. The board welcomed new members Thad Crowe, Angela Schifanella and Rick Pariani.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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