Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Wins Statewide Awards from the Florida Redevelopment Association – Roy F. Kenzie Award for Cultural Enhancement

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The Florida Redevelopment Association (FRA) has awarded the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (DBCRA) the Roy F. Kenzie awards in two out of 12 categories.

“It is highly unusual for one agency to win in two categories. We are honored to accept these awards for cultural enhancement and our community garden and are proud of our accomplishments over the last year,” said Jeremy Earle, DBCRA Executive Director.

The Florida Redevelopment Association (FRA) has awarded the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (DBCRA) the Roy F. Kenzie awards in two out of 12 categories - one for Cultural Enhancement. The DBCRA addressed three distinct components that defined the comprehensive approach to develop impactful and sustainable initiatives tor enhanced cultural and creative experiences in Dania Beach.

The creation of the Dania Beach Creative Arts Council, the crafting of the 10-year strategic Community Arts Plan and the launch of the Dania Beach Arts & Seafood Celebration were all designed to uncover and celebrate a deep underlying theme that authentically exists in Dania Beach. The ultimate goal of the Council, the Plan, and the annual celebration is to showcase and grow the creative arts community in Dania Beach and to strengthen its identity as a strong industry in the area. It was imperative that the initiatives have an authentically Dania Beach feeling and that they complement, rather than compete with, other South Florida initiatives while improving the community’s image.

The approach was clearly innovative. The DBCRA understood the importance of capitalizing on the city’s emerging creative potential. “Creativity is important, whether in technology, in governance or in your household,” said Vice Mayor Albert C. Jones. The DBCRA recognized the city’s distinctiveness and that leveraging its creative potential would produce an improved quality of life. A 10-month quest ensued and is ongoing to uncover artists living and working in the area and to identify vacant properties that can be filled with artist studios, galleries, and an arts center. Fifty-five local artists and community members were surveyed and interviewed and multiple presentations were made to civic associations, chamber members and merchant organizations. This quest led to the formation of the Creative Arts Council Advisory Board and to the development of the first Community Arts Plan for Dania Beach – a work plan that defines the specific goals, strategies and action steps to grow and celebrate the arts as a strong industry in Dania Beach. Within one year of beginning this comprehensive arts initiative, an advisory board was in place, volunteers were ready, and willing, to work evident by their valuable volunteer contributions to the inaugural Arts & Seafood Celebration – an event designed to publicly launch and celebrate arts initiatives in Dania Beach and to further the goals established in the newly created Arts Plan.

The impact on the community has been profound. The Council is building social capital by getting new people involved, connecting organizations to each other and creating experiences in organizing and working with local government. “Not only is Dania Beach the first city in Broward County, it is a very unique city. We have a fierce loyalty here and the residents go out of their way to serve the community in ways that surprise us every year. We have a very special feeling for the town, for its past, and for its future and we are very proud of that,” said Bo Donly, Chair of the Dania Beach Creative Arts Advisory Board. “The Community Arts Plan fosters a ‘creative milieu’ that spurs economic growth in creative industries and increases the likelihood of revitalization,” said Elizabeth Wentworth of Wentworth Creative Management, Inc. The Arts and Seafood Celebration added to the sense of community identity and pride and improved residents’ sense of belonging and attachment to the community. Through a one month Facebook campaign alone, fans grew from only 14 to over 1550 –over 2000 people were “talking about the event and the arts” online – with a weekly reach of over 110,000 – and over 656,000 total impressions during the campaign month. The community knows Dania Beach is “open for business” and interested in embracing and cultivating the arts industry. According to Mayor Walter Duke, “One thing that is really special about Dania Beach is that it has a small town charm, but it also has all of the attributes and benefits of a metropolitan setting.” Twenty-eight companies sponsored the event, 20 food vendors participated, 56 fine artists and crafters displayed and sold their original works and 11 entertainers (including Michaela Paige from The Voice) drew large crowds with an estimated 8,000 attendees.

The awards ceremony took place on Thursday, October 31st, at the annual FRA Conference in Tampa. This competition is highly competitive with both CRA's and Cities across the state applying for a total of 12 award categories. “It is highly unusual for one agency to win in two categories,” said Jeremy Earle, DBCRA Executive Director, “we are honored to accept these awards for cultural enhancement and our community garden and are proud of our accomplishments over the last year.”

The awards namesake, Roy F. Kenzie had a major impact on the world of redevelopment as an architect, planner, urban designer and developer in Miami in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. “The FRA Awards Program recognizes the best in redevelopment in Florida. It is open to any member of the association. Winners of the Roy F. Kenzie Award are evaluated on how effectively their projects demonstrate innovation, positively impact their community and provide applicability to other Florida communities, among other criteria. Within the 12 juried categories, the Florida Redevelopment Association Awards showcase and celebrate the most innovative and effective redevelopment programs in Florida. The 12 categories are: Planning Studies; Marketing and Communications; Capital Projects/ Beautification; Management Programs/Creative Partnerships; Creative Organizational Development and Funding; Outstanding Rehabilitation, Renovation or Reuse Project; Outstanding New Building Project; Transportation/Transit Enhancements; Cultural Enhancement; Outstanding Affordable Housing Project; Out of the Box; and President’s Award.” Excerpt from the FRA Best Book.

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