Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2012 project in the category of Neighborhood Development for communities with populations of 25,000 – 200,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 8, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held October 6-9, in Philadelphia, Penn.

“The Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency as being one of the leading organizations in the industry for innovation, creativity and successful strategies,” said IEDC chair, Paul Krutko. “These awards are meant to honor the organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making a positive change in their communities. This organization uses creative solutions and inventive ideas, and offers other regions a wonderful example to learn and benefit from. The award represents an acknowledgment and appreciation for Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency’s dedication to continuous growth within itself, as well as improving the industry overall.”

The Lake Worth NSP-2 Consortium undertook a significant housing redevelopment effort, beginning in 2010. With just over $23M from the federal government through the Neighborhood Stabilization Grant, the CRA, as lead agency, put together a team of almost twenty partners that together, acquired foreclosed, dilapidated property in a very specific and targeted area of the City, completed substantial rehabilitation on the homes and then sold or rented the units to income qualified families or individuals.

While creating this comprehensive implementation plan, careful thought and consideration was given to providing a complete program of stability and self-sufficiency. Classes and opportunities were incorporated into the program, such as budgeting, credit counseling and individual deposit accounts were offered to help people save. Training was also offered for residents at the local community college.

The CRA was responsible for purchasing all the properties for the program and conveyed most to partners, while keeping 20 for development by the CRA. In conjunction with another CRA program, called LULA – Lake Worth Arts, the CRA focused on a specific group of individuals to help revitalize the area – artists. By integrating arts and arts-related activities into the stabilization plan, the local arts community was able to not only participate but grow in strength and numbers, providing additional opportunities for artists to live and practice their craft. “The development of the 12 unit, Arts Lofts have really helped transform the area just west of Dixie Highway and opened the door to many more exciting projects,” says Joan Oliva, CRA Executive Director, “Approximately 100 new units have been built in the CRA area and another 60 are under construction thanks to the NSP-2 program and its partners.”

The project also paid close attention to the CRA’s commitment to the environment and embraced not only cost cutting improvements to benefit the homeowners but environmentally sensitive materials, appliances and methods, leading to green certification.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.

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