Preservation society celebrates beautification awards

Preservation society celebrates beautification awards
Tomas A. Jimenez, Jr. with Missie Sarra LePrell and Matt Carlucci

The San Marco Preservation Society (SMPS) bestowed Beautification Awards to the owners of five area single-family homes and two businesses during its annual meeting June 14 at Preservation Hall.

Also, during the meeting, SMPS unveiled a new logo based on the three lions in San Marco Square and asked that a vote be taken to retain the present Board for another year of service. 

The proposal that no changes be made to the board came at the request of SMPS President Bryan Mickler and the vote was unanimous. Mickler asked that the board be retained another year because SMPS Treasurer Rick Kohn, who was set to take over as president, moved out of the area due to a transfer in employment, and Vice President Debra Pataky is willing to continue to serve on the board, although not as president.

Pataky’s home at 2209 River Road was among the residential beautification winners who were recognized by Beautification Committee Chairman Chris Woolston during the meeting. Also receiving residential awards were Linda George of 2241 River Road, Suzanne Perritt of 1999 Largo Road, Lois Rush of 2502 River Road, and Joseph Pecora of 1521 Palm Road. All the homeowners have done substantial renovations to their property in such a way to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, said Woolston.

Receiving commercial awards for the exterior transformation on the buildings that house their businesses were Rue St. Marc, a restaurant located at the fork of San Marco Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue, which is owned by San Marco Chefs David and Matthew Medure, and Creative Grain Studio, a crafting workshop owned by Racheal Melo and her mother, Kim.

In addition to Mickler, Woolston, and Pataky, who is also land use and zoning committee chair, other SMPS Board members include LeAnna Cumber, immediate past president; Karen Carlucci and Tiffany Heavener, co-membership chairs; Linzee Ott, social media and safety; Gordon Mott, traffic/pedestrian and bicycle; Barbara Hall, Preservation Hall; Robin Robinson, historian; William Michaelis, legal; Kristin Nimnicht; Debbie Hanania, and Erin Weinberg, website.

SMPS has also hired two new employees, Ellen Wilson, administrative assistant, and Laura Witten, Preservation Hall Coordinator.

At 250 members, membership in the society was slightly lower than desired, said Mickler, but fundraising continues to be successful through the sale of memorial bricks, house plaques, Christmas luminaria, and events, such as Wine Down in the Parks.

SMPS helped raise thousands of dollars to spearhead #SanMarcoStrong, an initiative to spark the recovery of San Marco businesses and residents in the wake of Hurricane Irma, he said.

Money has also been spent to improve the organization’s website and preserve its buildings – South Jacksonville City Hall, where a new sign will be installed, and Preservation Hall, where at least $60,000 was spent to put on a new roof and give the building a facelift.

The group’s new logo will replace its old compass rose brand and will appear on new house plaques and sweatshirts, Mickler said.

San Marco Preservation Society continues to play a vital role by influencing the aesthetics of new development within its community, he said, noting new developments such as The District, San Marco Promenade, Broadstone River House, and Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center will impact the community in ways not yet realized. “We have challenges ahead of us with development on a level we’ve never seen before. I ask all of you to reach out and help this board,” he said.

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