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2009 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards Program Showcases
Best Practices for Community Associations

TALLAHASSEE, FL, March 18, 2009 – The 2009 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards were announced here today. Created to identify and promote innovative solutions and best practices in maintaining and improving the quality of life for residents of community associations throughout the State, the awards were presented by The Florida Community Association Journal and the law firm Becker & Poliakoff at a ceremony at the Old Capitol Building.

Nine condominium and homeowners associations – from Destin to Palm Beach – were recognized for achievement in addressing the needs and concerns of residents and surrounding communities in five independently judged categories: Environmental Initiatives, Disaster Preparedness, Communications, Safety & Security and Civic Involvement.
Representatives of prominent Florida civic and professional organizations, including AARP, The League of Women Voters, Volunteer Florida, The Community Associations Institute, Citizens Crime Watch and the Florida Society of Public Fire & Life Safety Educators, participated as judges in the awards, which received more than 120 entries in its first year.

Communities with more than 200 units and communities with fewer than 200 units were judged separately in each category.

“The communities we are honoring today represent pockets of very bright light in what has not been a glowing real estate picture,” said Jim McMurry, publication director for the Florida Community Association Journal , which will profile the winning initiatives of each community association in its pages. “These communities are making life better for their residents and their communities in spite of the many challenges they are facing today.

Each of the cities where these associations are based can take pride in the accomplishments of these communities on behalf of residents. At the same time, other communities across the state can look to the Awards recipients for examples of best practices they can institute to strengthen their communities.

Becker & Poliakoff attorney David Muller said, “We see excellence every day in the communities we represent. We are proud to be part of this awards program recognizing all of the positive things happening in communities around Florida.”

Communities selected for their achievement were presented with Crystal engraved awards and DVD copies of videos that were produced to showcase each association at the ceremony which was attended by property managers, board members and residents of the winning communities.

Florida’s CFO Alex Sink, a strong advocate of promoting best practices in government and the private sector, participated in the program together with state legislative leaders, awards judges and other dignitaries.

The 2009 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards winners include (200+ unit communities appear first):

Diaster Preparedness

  • Bonita Springs – Shadow Wood Community Association. Implementation of a Natural Disaster Preparedness Plan, and Emergency Action & Spill Control and Countermeasures Plan which focuses on Hazardous Material type disasters and clean-up.
  • Palm Beach – The Thirty-Three Sixty Condominium Association . Comprehensive Hurricane Preparedness Program including building and facility upgrades, emergency repair and clean-up contracts, resident and staff training coordinated with local Fire and Police.

Environmental Initiatives

  • Sarasota – Pelican Cove Condominium Association. Watershed and Landscape Management Program to reduce contamination of Clower Creek from rainwater runoff along the community’s 3,600-foot shoreline on the waterway that drains into Little Sarasota Bay.
  • Destin – Sandpiper Village Condo Association . Multi-year Storm Water Management and Land Reclamation project to improve lakes and ponds, protect tree population, maintain and improve green space, increase fish, turtle, bird population.

Civic Involvement Initiatives

  • Palm Coast – Hammock Dunes. Led building project for County’s first non-profit hospice, providing board support and $3.5 million collective fundraising, while also establishing college scholarships for residents’ and employees’ families, funding local Habitat for Humanity projects and Humane Society facility
  • Ft. Myers – Pointe Royale. Broad-based Resident Volunteer Program involves more than three dozen local charities and civic organizations, providing volunteer opportunities listings on in-house cable channel, bulletin boards and association newsletter.

Communications Initiatives

  • Ft. Pierce (Hutchinson Island) – Ocean Village . “Communications Is Key” Transparency Program provides closed-circuit TV access to Board meetings, detailed break-outs of Finance Committee proceedings, workshops attended by directors where residents speak without limits on any subject relevant to the Village.
  • Clearwater – Clearwater Key Association. New Web site makes all community paperwork including budgets available to residents as part of “open door” policy to promote transparency in all actions taken by Board, property manager and staff.

Safety & Security Initiatives

  • Orlando – Hunter’s Creek. Comprehensive Security Program involves Neighborhood Crime Watch, yearly public meetings offering crime prevention tips and licensed and certified community volunteers trained in crime prevention, first aid, CPR, sexual harassment and how to spot suspicious criminal activity.
  • Ft. Myers – Pointe Royale. Comprehensive Resident and Property Security Program introduced physical access restrictions, 24/7 on-premises security personnel, state-of-the-art, 16-camera video monitoring system and local police and fire training meetings.

Community of the Year

  • Ft. Myers – Pointe Royale. Winner of Civic Involvement and Safety & Security Initiatives. Professional condo and HOA association managers, board members and other representatives of the nearly four million Florida community association residents nominated their favorite communities for the awards, which were announced in November.

Additional information about 2009 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards as well as winning entries can be found by visiting www.flcaj.com/2009winners .

About the Florida Community Association Journal

Founded in 1986, the Florida Community Association Journal provides news and vital information to operators of condominiums, homeowners associations, cooperatives and other multi-unit communities and has earned the reputation of being the industry’s most authoritative voice. The monthly publication contains news and feature articles dealing with areas of interest to managers and board members, including legal matters, accounting practices, insurance, rules enforcement, cost-saving practices, industry events, building and grounds maintenance, security solutions, education and more. Additional information at www.flcaj.com/.

About Becker & Poliakoff P.A.

Becker & Poliakoff is a diverse commercial law firm with more than 120 attorneys in 13 Florida offices, New York City and affiliated international offices. Celebrating its thirty-sixth (36th) year of serving clients, the firm has seven primary areas of practice: Real Estate, Construction, Community Association, International Trade & Customs, Commercial Litigation, Corporate, Tax & Securities, and Government Law & Lobbying. For more information visit: www.becker-poliakoff.com .