The International Downtown Association (IDA) recognized the City of Gainesville with the 2023 Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence. The Award honors the City’s resourceful and innovative approach to revitalizing its historic downtown through work performed by the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area (GCRA), the Department of Sustainable Development and the University of Florida.

The Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan was honored in the category of Planning, Design and Infrastructure. This category recognizes transformational approaches to master planning, streetscape improvements, sustainable infrastructure and wayfinding.

“The Downtown Strategic Plan is building an active and equitable space that we all can be proud of,” said Mayor Harvey Ward. “With our community partners, we are creating a downtown that has warmth and charm and is economically vibrant. This progress comes from the City’s focus on growth, preservation, sustainability and infrastructure, and in the private investment that follows this very high level of local commitment.”

From shaping an identity to creating an authentic regional jewel, the plan will provide the map needed to guide downtown to a prosperous future.

David Downey, IDA President and CEO, said, “The City of Gainesville has demonstrated skillful application of urban place management principles with their Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan. This example should serve as a framework for all member communities within IDA.”

The collaborative team behind the Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan began working on this project in early 2021 with a strong focus on listening to neighbors. Joint funding was provided by the University of Florida and the City through the GCRA.

A jury of peer professionals reviewed, deliberated and evaluated all entries in the 2023 Downtown Achievement Awards. The Award of Excellence is presented to organizations that have shown extraordinary skill in addressing the challenges that come with managing urban areas.