City of Gainesville Presents 2022 Historic Preservation Awards to Six Community Advocates

From lr to r: Pastor Gerard Duncan, recipient of the Heritage Champion Award; Roy Hunt, recipient of the EL Roy Hunt Award; Karen Kirkman, recipient of the Champion of Preservation Award; Giovanna Holbrook, recipient of the Mary Besalski Barrow Award; Outstanding Design Award/Compatible Fill awarded to Trimark Properties accepted by John Flemming; Vivian Washington Filer Vivian Filer Award Recipient. Photo courtesy of Matheson History Museum

City of Gainesville press release

BY SUZETTE COOK

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Historic Preservation Officer Kathleen Kauffman was already familiar with longtime community advocates for historic preservation when she moved to Gainesville for her position with the city in 2021. She attended the University of Florida where she had earned a master’s degree in preservation history, and through that program Kauffman learned from UF EL law professor Roy Hunt.

Hunt taught the “Seminar on Historic Preservation Law” at UF Levin College of Law where he served as acting dean twice in 1970 and 1980. He began teaching at UF in 1962 and 1976, he developed the specialty course, which he taught for over 35 years. The course was one of Hunt’s many accomplishments.

Hunt was lead author of the 1987 book, “Historic Preservation in Florida,” which included the chapter “How to Write a Historic Preservation Ordinance.” He has served on the Advisory Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. He was appointed by Governors Graham and Chiles to the St. Augustine Historic Preservation Board and also served as Chairman of the Florida Historic Preservation Advisory Board (now the Florida Historic Commission).

The original Gainesville Historic Preservation Ordinance, passed by the Gainesville City Commission in 1978, was the result of Hunt and Professor Blair Reeves’ first session on the “Historic Preservation Law Seminar.”

“My first group of students wrote the historic preservation (ordinance) for the town of Gainesville,” Hunt said, “and saw it through the commission.”

Throughout his career, Hunt has written preservation ordinances for communities in Florida and beyond. And his former students too.

Kauffman well remembers the course Hunt taught in 1996. “I was in class with all the law students and I think only two of us were masters students in historic preservation,” she said. declared.

Decades after graduation, an accomplished Kauffman was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Historical Commission (FHC) in 2021. Her background as director of KSK Preservation; Chief of Historic Preservation of Miami-Dade County; Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Miami; and Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and her current role with the City of Gainesville earned her a spot.

The FHC was created by the Florida Legislature in 2001, “to enhance public participation and involvement in the preservation and protection of the State’s historic and archaeological sites and properties.”

Kauffman then drafted preservation laws for the city of Fort Pierce and the town of Lake Park in Palm Beach County.

“I’m sure his other students continued to do the same,” she said of Hunt’s legacy. “He continued to teach it year after year to preservation law students,” Kauffman said. “It’s an amazing thing to get out of Gainesville. Many students then wrote preservation orders.

In a recent interview at his home in Gainesville, Hunt, 88, believes his greatest preservation achievement is his role in securing two designated National Historic Landmarks for Alachua County: Marjorie House and Farm. Kinnan Rawlings and Dudley Farm.

When Kauffman and the city’s Historic Preservation Board began planning an annual awards event, it was Kauffman who devised the EL Roy Hunt Award which “recognizes an individual who has been an outstanding leader and advocate in the field of historic preservation for many years. years, or throughout a career.

The description of the award states that it is “established in honor of EL Roy Hunt, professor of law emeritus at the University of Florida, historian, author, and preservation advocate, whose passionate advocacy for the historic resources of Florida has expanded over the past six decades. ”

Hunt received the award May 25 in a ceremony at the Matheson History Museum.

Five other awards were presented: the Preservation Champion Award was given to Karen Kirkman for her passion for preserving the history of the Haile Plantation neighborhood; the Heritage Champion Award went to Pastor Gerard Duncan for his work with the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida to reconstruct the history of Old Mount Carmel Baptist Church and restore the building; the Outstanding Design/Compatible Infill Award went to Trimark Properties, a development company that has helped the city grow in recent years while maintaining the charm and sense of community that Gainesville neighborhoods are known for; the Mary Besalski Barrow Award went to Giovanna Holbrook who began restoring homes in Gainesville in 1978 and established the Sweetwater Branch Inn; and the Vivian Washington Filer Award went to namesake Vivian Filer, a longtime Alachua County educator who has volunteered tirelessly for issues of equality, justice, health care and preservation.

Hunt said he has received many awards throughout his career, but this local award means more to him than most.

“It’s very gratifying to be honored in your own community,” Hunt said.


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