Serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties

CFRPC Receives APA-FL Outstanding Contribution Award

January 29, 2016

Regional Planning Council Receives Local Recognition for Turning a Brownfield into a Healthfield

An Award for Outstanding Contribution for the Mulberry Health Care Clinic, Brownfield to Healthfield project was presented to the Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC) at the American Planning Association (APA) Florida Chapter, Heart of Florida Section’s 2016 Annual Meeting on January 22 in Winter Haven. The award, which is the highest honor presented by the local APA section, highlights the innovative and collaborative work that led to the construction and opening of the Mulberry Health Care Clinic. The project used the National Healthfields Model and partnerships to facilitate the planning and development of a health clinic in an underserved area, on an opportune site for redevelopment.

CFRPC Executive Director Patricia Steed stated, “We are honored to receive this award, however the key to the success of this project was the partnerships and collaboration. The City of Mulberry, Central Florida Health Care (CFHC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Cardno, project consultants, and most importantly the citizens of Mulberry worked together to identify a health need in the City of Mulberry, and then were able to fulfill that need, providing for health care for residents while redeveloping a perceived brownfields site. Local access to health care is improved, health disparities are decreased, and redevelopment occurs in needed areas, all while creating jobs. As a planning agency, we could not ask for a better outcome.”

Stefanie von Paleske-Bush, AICP, Awards Chair for the section stated, “The awards committee was very impressed with this project, which is why we awarded it with the highest possible award category. The committee felt that the project is transferable to many other rural and semi-rural communities that are also in a health care desert.”

This project was accomplished as a Healthfields Redevelopment concept, which transforms Brownfield sites into viable projects that improve access to health and health care of the community through brownfields redevelopment, principals, tools and resources. The Mulberry Health Care Clinic is considered a National Healthfields Model and is frequently cited as a best practices example of such redevelopment projects. The clinic officially opened for operation in its permanent building in February 2015, and provides adult and pediatric services, dental services, pharmacy, outreach and enrollment, health education, lab and x-ray services.  The clinic is now a reality while repurposing a former brownfields site:  a healthy combination. To learn more about the Mulberry Health Care Clinic, visit http://www.cfhconline.org/.

The Central Florida Regional Planning Council was also awarded with an Award of Merit at the APA meeting for the East Lake Parker/West North Combee Areawide Plan. More information about that plan can be found at http://www.cfrpc.org/areawideplanning/.