RAP hosts annual meeting, presents awards to community stewards

RAP hosts annual meeting, presents awards to community stewards
The sanctuary at the Riverside Church at Park and King played host to the evening's event.

The local neighborhood preservation and advocacy group, Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP), welcomed guests and award winners to Riverside Church at Park and King, formerly known as the Riverside Baptist Church, Feb. 17, for its annual meeting.

The historic structure and courtyards set the perfect backdrop the evening festivities, where a collective of passionate locals rallied for the organization. From displays of artwork, to merchandise and free slices of pizza, as well as wine and beverages from local purveyors, the evening was alive with celebration. The following awards were presented during the meeting:

  • Architectural Rehabilitation Award 2022 for 1085 Cherry Street presented to Roseprop, LLC
  • Architectural Rehabilitation Award 2022 for 1422 Rensselaer Avenue presented to Sarah and Mario Magliano
  • Architectural Rehabilitation Award 2022 for 3691 Herschel Street presented to Bold City Properties
  • Architectural Rehabilitation Award 2022 for 2165 Oak Street presented to South Quarter Build Company, Clay Zeigler and Christina DiLoreto
  • Architectural Restoration Award 2022 for 1415 McDuff Avenue South presented to: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Landscaping Award The Cummer Garden Restoration presented to The Cummer Museum & WLA Studio
  • Landscaping Award for Native Park II presented to Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

Wayne Wood Award

Dr. Iris Eisenberg

The Wayne Wood Award recognizes outstanding service to the Riverside Avondale Historic District. This year RAP recognized a longtime advocate, board member, committee member, and community voice, Dr. Iris Eisenberg. A pediatrician and emergency room physician, Iris cares not only for patients, but historic sites and their preservation. Since she first arrived in Jacksonville nearly five decades ago, Iris has been involved with RAP. Among her first efforts: She helped save the Martha Washington Hotel from demolition.

Board Chair Brooks Andrews with award winner, Iris Eisenberg, Dr. Wayne Wood. (photo courtesy of Mark Krancer)
Board Chair Brooks Andrews with award winner, Iris Eisenberg, Dr. Wayne Wood. (photo courtesy of Mark Krancer)

Over the years, Iris has served as a RAP Board Member, helped protect historic homes, and has even restored several homes. She is a standout volunteer for Luminaria, the RAP Home Tour and the Riverside WineFest. Iris helps preserve RAP’s institutional memory and serves as an essential component in all the work done by the organization. This year, RAP recognized Dr. Iris Eisenberg as the Dr. Wayne Wood Award recipient.

Placemaker Project of the Year

Lomax St. in 5 Points

Riverside Avondale Preservation, Five Points Merchants Association, Tocknell Planning Services, Envision Design Plus Engineering, Flagg Design Studio, Waitz and Moye, Kirby Development, Inc., Black Sheep Restaurant, COJ Office of the Mayor, COJ Planning Department, COJ Public Works Department, FDOT Complete Streets – Office of Statewide Coordinator, Kay Ehas, former Council Member Jim Love and Council Member Randy DeFoor.

Individual Service Award

Alice Jones, JaxParks

Alice Jones, Project Manager for the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department of JaxParks is a champion for the Riverside/Avondale park system, which includes 26 of the city’s 497 parks. Alice is the person RAP turns to in order to keep the parks operating at peak performance. She knows who to call to request repairs, maintenance, and the resources needed to improve the parks quickly and effectively.

Alice takes on every issue as if local parks are her backyard, whether it’s an overflowing trash can or supervising a team of landscapers, she recognizes the challenges neighborhood parks face and is a staunch advocate for their care and oversight.

Community Impact Award

Art Bikes Jax

Art Bikes Jax isn’t just a person or a business, it is a concept that has fundamentally improved our neighborhood. Combining tourism, art, and recreation, Art Bikes Jax celebrates local art and local artists in a way that is completely unique to our neighborhood, and beyond. While highlighting local art is the main goal, Art Bikes Jax has also created a new recreational outlet for tourists and people from all over Jax to experience our neighborhood. We recognize Ron Rothberg and Holt Tucker of Open Road Bicycles for bringing this wonderful project to our community.

Planning for the Future

RAP Arts Task Force

RAP had a broad objective for this Task Force: develop an approach to encourage public art, support local artists, and create events that celebrate art in our community. Chaired by long-time art advocate Bob White and supported by RAP Board Member Perry Reynolds, the two recruited an advisory committee of local artists across all mediums and began a series of year-long meetings and discussions.

The outcome is a series of proposed support activities and events to be managed by the newly created RAP Placemaking Committee. Soon, the committee will sharing the events and programs planned for 2022. RAP recognized Bob White, Perry Reynolds, Lana Shuttleworth, Rick Pariani and Cindy Guy for their work on this task force.

Featured Art

“The Pond” at Willowbranch Park

The motivation for the Willow Branch Park basketball court mural, was a joint decision by the Board of Directors of the AIDS Memorial Project (AMP), along with a group of young artists, coordinated by Keith Doles. The primary focus was the protection, restoration, and beautification of this historic park. The basketball court was identified as an ideal location for a prominent public art project.

Doles and his team presented AMP with a design concept that was later approved by JaxParks and supported by RAP. This undertaking was fully funded by AMP with the generosity of the larger community. RAP is proud of this public art project and its members proudly watch children play on the painted water lilies, marvel at the goldfish and manatees that are vividly displayed on the court and “walk on water”. This was truly an outstanding, unique and exemplary community beautification of an urban core park, one that is in dire need of citizen advocates. RAP recognized artists Keith Doles, Adrian Rhodes, Hannah Hadzic and Ramses “Spider” Allen, as well as the project leader and funder; The AIDS Memorial Project of Northeast Florida.

New Business Spotlight

Mixed Fillings Pie Shop

In recognition of the businesses that make our neighborhood unique, preserve and promote its historic fabric, and create a sense of community, RAP recognized Natasha Burton and Mixed Fillings Pie Shop. While the self-described “speakeasy for pie lovers” is a bit off the beaten path on Oak St. in Riverside, the line quickly forms as fans arrive to purchase sweet and savory pies. This small business is located in Riverside, and RAP leadership hopes to see more just like it flourish and strengthen our community. 

Riverside Arts Market Maker of the Year

Crystal Israel, Little Black Box

Little Black Box is a micro-bakery based in Jacksonville, with a regular presence at the Riverside Arts Market. Owner, Crystal Israel, uses locally sourced seasonal produce whenever possible to make the best baked goods, jams, and jellies available at area farmers markets and online. Little Black Box is an endeavor of love. Their jams are handcrafted in small batches and made by artisans with a focus on local ingredients whenever possible. Little Black Box sources locally and reinvests in other small businesses including purchase of their jars, ingredients, and labels.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, Little Black Box quickly pivoted and assembled an online group for RAM Makers to sell their products, discuss challenges and explore opportunities. Crystal continues to influence RAM’s marketing efforts to be effective and efficient. Her continued leadership this year has helped bring makers together and made RAM’s community impact even stronger than it was pre-pandemic.

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