November 18, 1976, shortly after establishment of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a number of community development professionals met in Orlando to form a Coalition of Local Program Administrators to Assist One Another in meeting the challenges of the CDBG program. This effort was supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Jacksonville Regional Office. HUD representatives included Mark Finks, Washington, D.C.; Merle Patterson, Atlanta, Georgia; and Charles Straub, Assistant Regional Administrator for CPD of the Atlanta, Georgia Office. In addition, representatives from the HUD Jacksonville Regional Office included L.I. Alexander, Equal Opportunity Director; Buddy Arbuckle, Sr., Environmental Officer; R.W. Buskirk, Office Director; Hugh Dawson, CPD Representative; Marilyn Flook, CPD Representative; Arthur Jarrett, HPMC Director; Phil Johnson, CPD Director; Ferdinand Juluke, Financial Analyst; David Kay, Economist; Thomas Lackey, CPD Representative; Beth Mitchell, CPD Representative; Reuben Padgett, III, CPD Representative; Nick Sotiropoulis, Program Support Branch Chief; Jack Tallent, Financial Analyst; Phil Tallon, Planning and Relocation Chief; Cleveland Talmadge, Special Assistant to the Director; Daniel Taylor, Codes and Rehab Administrator; Robert Webb, CPD Representative; and Elaine Wright, Relocation Specialist.
November 2-5, 1977, marked the date of the first Annual Conference Meeting held at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel in Clearwater, FL. At this meeting, Cecelia Bonifay Pierce, Community Involvement Planner for Leon County was elected President; James E. Huger, Community Development Director for the City of Daytona Beach, was elected Vice President; and Richard Gross, Community Development Director for Hialeah, was elected Secretary/Treasurer. In 1978, Ms. Bonifay transferred to other employment and Mr. Huger assumed the duties of the President. He was re-elected as President at the Second Annual Conference held in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
On July 26, 1979, the Articles of Incorporation were filed to establish the Florida Community Development Association (FCDA) with its principal office located at 86 East 6th Street in Hialeah, FL. Later that year, Lawrence C. Monserrate, Pensacola, was hired as its first Executive Director, which was made possible though a contract negotiated with the Department of Community Affairs for $45,000. Under his direction, the Association's newsletter, The Intercom, was first published. In 1980, Mr. Monserrate resigned to accept a post in Washington, D.C., and Gary Demack, Fort Lauderdale, was hired as the second executive director. Throughout 1979 FCDA continued to grow and held its Third Annual Conference in Tallahassee, FL, with Mr. Huger serving as President. At this conference, the Association officially opened its state headquarters in Tallahassee. A reception was given to honor this historic occasion. Ernest Martin, Dade County, was elected President in 1980 and the fourth annual conference was hosted in West Palm Beach. This conference related problems of management and saw the start of a Confederation of State Association.
In 1981, The Articles of Incorporation were amended to reflect the new principal office location of 224 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee, FL, with Mr. Demack as the residing agent. A second contract was negotiated with the Department of Community Affairs in the amount of $50,000. The Association's major responsibility under this contact was to provide technical assistance to local governments in the area of housing, community, and economic development. This assistance was provided by experienced community development practitioners, as well as, consultants paid by the State's 107 Program. The first form of assistance was called the Peer-to Peer Technical Assistance Program. In addition, FCDA co-sponsored workshops and seminars on topics of special interest in conjunction with the regional office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Also in 1981, the Association combined efforts with Region IV of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Florida A & M University, Florida State University, and the Department of Community Affairs and sponsored the Florida Community Development Association Curriculum. The first session was held in Tallahassee during January, session two was held in Orlando during April, session three was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL during June, session four was held in Tampa during August, and the final session was held in Tallahassee during September. More than one hundred twenty community development professionals attended these events.
Later in 1981, the Fifth Annual Conference Meeting was held in Pensacola Beach, FL and Azell Johnson, Bradenton, FL was elected President. Mr. Demack resigned as Executive Director to accept a position at the University of Alabama. The Governor's Cup Award was introduced this year and presented to the Governor himself, Bob Graham. Other awardees include Senator Curtis Peterson, 1982; Representative Samuel Bell, 1983; U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles, 1984; Senator Carrie Meek, 1985; HUD CPD Director Cleve Talmadge, 1986; and Daytona Beach Community Development Director James E. Huger, 1989.
In 1982, the sixth Annual Conference Meeting was hosted in St. Petersburg, FL and Thomas Pierce of Tallahassee, FL was elected President. At this conference an award was presented to Gary Demack for his service to the Association. The Executive Board appointed Thomas Pierce Secretary/Treasurerand authorized him to use the services of "My Secretary of Tallahassee" to carry out the day-to-day functions of the organization.
In 1983, Miami, FL hosted the Seventh Annual Conference Meeting, and Remar Harvin of Belle Glade, FL was elected President. Awards of appreciation were presented to Thomas Pierce, James E. Huger, and Sara Alligood of "My Secretary" for services rendered. In 1984, Orlando hosted the Eighth Annual Conference Meeting, and David Smith of Hillsborough County was elected President. At this conference, Stephen Bollinger, Assistant Secretary of Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of HUD, was scheduled to give the keynote address. However, though in his early 30s, he died before the conference took place. The Association dedicated its annual program to Mr. Bollinger and donated $1,000 to the Stephen J. Bollinger Fund. The Ninth Annual Conference Meeting was hosted by Sarasotain 1985 with Fred Fox presiding and the Tenth Annual Conference Meeting was hosted again West Palm Beach, FL in 1986. Awards have been presented from FCDA to individuals who have contributed to the goals of the Association. Certificates of Appreciation were presented in 1985 to Hugh B. Dawson upon his retirement from the HUD Regional Office, in 1986 to Clifton G. Brown upon his retirement from the HUD Regional Office, and to Harry I. Sharrott and Jo Ann Stanton upon their transfer to other HUD assignments. The 1993 annual conference voted to make Dr. James E. Huger an Honorary Member Emeritus upon his retirement and renamed the Governor's Cup the James E. Huger Award of Excellence. Awardees have included Shirley Taylor-Prakelt, 1994; Remar Harvin, 1995; and Les Green, 1996.
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