Beautification board awards 10 projects

The Gainesville Beautification Awards honored 10 projects from across the city.
The Gainesville Beautification Awards honored 10 projects from across the city.
Photo collage by Seth Johnson

Gainesville’s City Beautification Board recognized 10 projects at its annual awards ceremony on Thursday at the Thomas Center.  

Crossing all types of uses and sizes, the awards highlight new construction and rehabilitation that is original, innovative, creative, sustainable and aesthetic.  

“What a city is isn’t always just what the government does,” City Commissioner Casey Willits said. 

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Willits presented the awards and said that how developers and homeowners go above minimum standards to beautify their corner of the community also makes Gainesville the city it has grown to be.  

April O’Neal, vice chair of the beautification board, said the board is working to return to a regular selection timeframe for the awards post-coronavirus. Last year, she said the board had a lot of projects to select from because they pulled from several years to make up for a skipped ceremony.  

She said the board is also looking to expand.  

Photo by Seth Johnson April O’Neal speaks at the 2023 Gainesville Beautification Awards.

“We’ve got new ideas,” O’Neal said. “We’re not just going to be doing these awards; we’re going to be doing workshops and getting out in the community and hopefully messaging us a little better.”  

The board wants to be community supported, she said, with lots of nominations for the awards and other outreach events.  

2023 Winners 

  • Multifamily 
    – Grove Street: Completed by Gainesville Housing Authority at 1900 SE Fourth Street 
    – Deer Creek Senior: Five-story senior living facility with 62 units. Located at 2166 NW 55th Blvd. 
  • Public Spaces 
    – Clarence R. Kelly Community Center and Park: A new center built by the city at 1700 NE 8th Ave. 
  • Mixed Commercial 
    – 4411 Dental Office Building: A two-story office space designed by Monarch Design Group and located at 4411 NW 8th Ave.  
  • Lodging 
    – Hyatt Place Downtown: An apartment and hotel located in the middle of downtown. 
  • Dining
    The Swamp: This Gator classic relocated from its original 1994 site and recreated to look the same at 1104 SW 2nd Ave.  
  • Institutional Facilities 
    – Herbert Wertheim Laboratory for Engineering Excellence: UF will house engineering undergrads through graduates in a new glass and steel building. 
    – James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center: The new $85 million home of Gator football began construction in June 2020 and opened before the 2022 season. 

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