New Riverside Avondale Preservation director welcomed by community

New Riverside Avondale Preservation director welcomed by community
Past and present Riverside Avondale Preservation leadership pose for a photo with new executive director, Warren Jones. Front: Sally Suslak, former board chair; Warren Jones; Sunny Gettinger, former board chair; back: Keith Holt immediate past board chair; Carmen Godwin, former executive director; Margaret Tocknell, former board chair; Nancy Powell, current board chair, and Wayne Wood, founder and first board chair.

Although Riverside Avondale Preservation’s new executive director officially began his duties June 12, Warren Jones was formally welcomed to the community at a reception Aug. 8 at the Riverside home of RAP Founder Wayne Wood and Lana Shuttleworth.

Wood kicked off the evening by welcoming Jones as the 14th executive director for RAP.

Past directors included Henry McCartney, 1974-76 (who was named executive director of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, in January); Paul Kittas, 1977; Myrtice Craig, 1977-1980 (who passed away in September 2014); Loren Gannon, 1980-81; H.C. Carmichael, 1981-82; Barbara Bermpohl, 1982-84; Leslee Keys, 1984-86 (an assistant professor in history at Flagler College); Joel McEachin, 1986-88 (recently retired from the City of Jacksonville Planning Department); Teresa Cruser, 1989-90; Carla Trautman, 1990-91; Bonnie Grissett, 1994-2007 (who passed away in December 2010); Carmen Godwin, executive director 2008-2016 (program manager at the Florida Association of Museums Foundation), and Adrienne Burke, 2016-2018.

Nancy Powell, RAP board chair, noted the board began a strategic planning process last year, the surveys and data gathering was complete, and they are close to sharing the strategic plan with the community in the next few months. 

“The last one that was done, Jeff Graf, Kay Ehas and Carmen [Godwin] were involved, was done in 2009,” she said. “Almost 10 years later it’s time to do it again. We’ve changed a lot as an organization, it’s a vibrant community, more diverse than it was before, we love that we’re part of a Downtown renaissance. Preservation is important, as is the historic fabric of the neighborhood.”

“The research in the strategic plan showed what people want,” said Jones. “It said RAP should focus on historic preservation, but for a question about what’s important the first 13 items had to do with what was around people, such as the nature environment, access to bike and walking paths, and more.” 

Jones, an Avondale resident since 2016, moved to the area from Tallahassee to be closer to family. “We’re in our perfect, ideal neighborhood,” said Jones, who noted he and his wife, Faith, had planned to retire in Tallahassee until they were six months away from doing so. “I asked my wife if she wanted to stay in Tallahassee and she said, ‘No, no!’”

Their daughter had moved to Jacksonville, so Faith came to visit, spent time in Avondale and knew it was where she wanted to live. “We do love it because we’re able to walk to incredible places and have different experiences every weekend,” said Jones.

Jones introduced his staff, which includes Crystal Floyd, finance manager; John Silveira, Riverside Arts Market senior market manager, Liz Grebe, marketing manager, who was not present; and Sonya Maness-Turner, administrative coordinator.

RAP’s office is located in The Buckland House, a 1913 American Foursquare style house built for George Buckland and his family. The house was donated to RAP by a cousin of Buckland’s two daughters and became the RAP office in 1991. It is located at 2623 Herschel Street and was renovated from 2012 to 2015.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login