March 06, 2009  

Former Mayor Jake Godbold was awarded the JEDC's Klechak Award last night at the annual National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) awards dinner. Jacksonville Economic Development Commission Executive Director Ron Barton presented the award to Mayor Godbold for his outstanding contributions and dedication to improving downtown Jacksonville.

A life-long resident of Jacksonville and downtown advocate, Godbold began his first term as mayor by embarking on an ambitious plan to enliven downtown through strategic investments that would result in more jobs and visitors returning to the core of the city. Godbold soon ushered in the 'billion dollar decade' of downtown redevelopment that helped him earn the nickname as the 'people's mayor.'

Godbold was also instrumental in developing tax increment financing (TIF) districts to redevelop downtown. He established community redevelopment areas on the north and south banks of downtown to allow the city to utilize TIF funding for needed improvements in these areas.

By aggressively pursuing various federal and state funds in addition to the TIF financing, the city was able to fund the Jacksonville Landing, the Southbank Riverwalk, redevelopment of the former Union Station into the Prime Osborne convention center and the addition of Metropolitan Park. Godbold was a firm believer that improved access to the St. Johns River would strengthen downtown.

'Mayor Godbold has been an outstanding leader for this city and his vast accomplishments for creating modern-day downtown Jacksonville deserve to be recognized,' said Mayor John Peyton. 'It is his vision and determination that have made many of downtown's amenities possible which laid the groundwork for future private capital investment. His efforts elevated downtown redevelopment to a staple priority for all mayoral administrations.'

About the Klechak Award

The Klechak Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions resulting in a significant impact on the continued development of downtown. Dr. Lew Klechak was first honored with this award in his name for his vision and devotion for over 15 years to the revitalization of the downtown area while chairman of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).