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Posted on: September 10, 2021

City staff recognized for commitment to supporting local neighborhoods’ needs

Reuben Franklin

Neighborhood Council announces inaugural recipient of George Gardner Award


The City of St. Augustine is proud to announce that Public Works Director Reuben Franklin has been named as the first recipient of the Neighborhood Council of St. Augustine’s newly created George Gardner Award.  The award will be presented on Monday, September 13, at 5:00 pm in The Alcazar Room of City Hall during the regularly scheduled City Commission meeting.  

The Council created the award to honor former Mayor George Gardner and his love for both the City of St Augustine and its residential neighborhoods.  

Gardner created the Neighborhood Council of St. Augustine as the umbrella organization under which the various unique residential neighborhoods of St. Augustine could legitimately organize themselves and be represented before the city.  In Gardner’s vision, the neighborhoods would create formal associations to include bylaws and elected officers; then under the Council, they would meet regularly to discuss the needs of the neighborhoods and represent themselves before the City as necessary, to offer a united voice.

Nearly twenty years later, the Neighborhood Council of St. Augustine has grown to 10 associations and continues Mayor Gardner’s vision acting as a bridge between City government and its residential neighborhoods.  

“Having worked closely with the City for so many years, we know there are many dedicated employees who give of selflessly, their time and energy, to make our residential neighborhoods better places to live,” remarked Council President and liaison Melinda Rakoncay. “We want to honor Mayor Gardner while at the same time show our appreciation by recognizing those individuals.  Unquestionably, Reuben Franklin demonstrates that dedication to the City and its neighborhood residents.”

Franklin was chosen as the first recipient due in part to his tireless efforts with local neighborhoods when he was first appointed as the city’s first Mobility Director in 2017.  While tasked with creating a city-wide mobility plan that would take years to implement, Franklin quickly realized the opportunity for simple solutions that could offer peace of mind to residents in the short-term.  Franklin organized neighborhood “walks” after work and on the weekends with residents so he could listen and witness first-hand the needs and concerns of the residents.  The public input from the walks resulted in solutions as simple as yellow curbing to designate no parking areas and installing sidewalks and speed humps.  

“I’m truly humbled to be selected as the first recipient of this award,” Franklin said. “I love the city and care about the residents.  In doing my job every day, it is my honor to carry on the vision of Mayor Gardner.”

Franklin currently serves as Public Works Director but still maintains a close working relationship with the Council and the individual neighborhoods.

Questions may be directed to the Neighborhood Council at ncstaug@gmail.com.

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