Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department Celebrates Outstanding Citizen Contribution


On Thursday, March 6, the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with the Gainesville-Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board (CAB), the Nature Centers Commission and the Public Recreation and Parks Board, will present the Arts Awards, STAR Awards and the Albert “Ray” Massey Citizen Volunteer Awards to citizens who have made outstanding efforts to promote cultural and arts activities, environmental awareness and recreational activities in 2013.

The Gainesville-Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board will award a 2013 Individual Arts Award, the Business Arts Award and an Individual Arts Award to honor significant and sustained contributions to the arts in our community.

The 2013 Individual Arts Award is being presented to John Moran. In 2013, Moran used his dynamic photography and considerable profile as a voice for conservation to increase public awareness of the degraded state of Florida’s springs and aquifer.

The 2013 Business Arts Award will be awarded to The Fest and its organizer Tony Weinbender. Since 2002, Gainesville’s annual four-day music festival, The Fest, and its organizer Tony Weinbender, have attracted thousands of music fans from around the world, promoting Gainesville’s local musicians and bolstering our economy.

The 2013 (newly renamed) Lennie Kesl Lifetime Arts Award is being presented to Randy Batista. For nearly four decades, photographer, gallery director, businessman and humanitarian Randy Batista has been a key player in Gainesville’s cultural evolution, an anchor in the downtown renaissance and a force behind many important charitable initiatives.

The Nature Centers Commission presents Star Awards to citizens who have made significant and beneficial contributions to Gainesville’s natural environment. Star Volunteer Award recipients include Adrianna “Andy” Clinton and Rebecca Wilson. The Good Neighbor Award recipients include Fritzi Olsen, Ashlee Hardin, Mary Fenton and Irina Ivanova.

Good Neighbor award recipient Fritzi Olson is the executive director of Current Problems, Inc., and is recognized for being an indefatigable defender of Gainesville and Alachua County’s creeks and rivers. Star Volunteer Adrianna “Andy” Clinton is being recognized for voluntarily dedicating 84 hours of service to City of Gainesville nature parks, helping to maintain trails, conducting controlled burns, controlling invasive non-native vegetation, removing hazard trees, setting up for special events and various other assorted maintenance tasks. Star Volunteer Rebecca Wilson has been a dedicated member of the Friends of Nature Parks citizen support organization since 2007, working tirelessly to assist with special events, website development and maintenance and serving as treasurer of the organization. Her dedication and passion make it possible for the Friends of Nature Parks to accomplish their mission of inspiring an appreciation for Florida’s natural environment by strengthening the educational resources of Gainesville’s nature parks. Good Neighbor award recipients Ashlee Hardin, Mary Fenton and Irina Ivanova are being honored for their collective efforts in reducing the enormous amount of paper consumption by the University of Florida Health Science Center, Contracts and Related Services Office that serves the contracting needs of all six university colleges and related units of the UF Health Science Center.

The Public Recreation and Parks Board presents the Albert “Ray” Massey Citizen Volunteer Awards to citizens that have worked to enhance or improve recreational activities in the community. The 2013 award is being presented to Leroy St. Onge. Since the City of Gainesville purchased Ironwood in the early ‘90s, St. Onge has been a staple at the golf course, volunteering his time in many different ways. He runs our clubs for kids program and has spent about 800 hours this past year at Ironwood.

The awards presentations will begin with the reading of the proclamations by Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy in the City Commission auditorium, which is located at City Hall, 200 E. University Ave., at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception at the Thomas Center Building A, Spanish Court at 302 NE Sixth Ave.