The Economic Development Division of the American Planning Association is pleased to announce co-winners of the 2013 Donald E. Hunter Excellence in Economic Development Planning Award: Central Market Economic Strategy, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development; and Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota County.

2013 Donald E. Hunter Excellence in Economic Development Planning Award

Nathan Benderson Park (Sarasota County, FL)

Nathan Benderson Park, located in unincorporated Sarasota County, Florida, is a former unimproved borrow pit lake that is being transformed into a 600‐acre regional park with a world‐class rowing venue. The project is a partnership of the county, state, private developer, local economic development corporation, recreation experts, schools, rowing clubs, and local citizenry. A sports tourism opportunity was identified in the design of the park in which the rowing venue element plays an important role in attracting international attention for world‐class aquatic competitive events. The rowing events bring in economic, quality of life, and health benefits that far exceed the financial investment. Sarasota County's conservative estimates of economic impact in today's market are approximately $13 million of direct spending by participants and attendees with a total regional economic impact of almost $25 million.

The panel was impressed with the Nathan Benderson Park project's innovative and unique approach, establishment and pursuit of a vision, ongoing and incremental implementation and results, and the collaboration of a wide-range of stakeholders to produce a public-private partnership that is adding economic value to the community where it may not have otherwise occurred. (Local contact: Adriana Trujillo-Villa; (941) 861-5140;

Central Market Economic Strategy (San Francisco, CA)

The Central Market Economic Strategy is the culmination of ten months of community outreach, technical research, and collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders focused on creating a clear and unified plan to improve the Central Market district of San Francisco. While the area has historically been a regional center for arts, entertainment, and retail, the area has struggled over the past several decades with high vacancy rates, physical blight, a lack of private investment, and a variety of social challenges such as homelessness, drug activity, and a concentration of extremely low-income single-room-occupancy housing. The Economic Strategy reflects a unified framework from over a dozen entities that prioritizes activities, programs, and policies. The approach has produced visible results over the past year such as: 9 tech companies and one venture capital firm have occupied almost 1 million square feet of space in the district; 8 new small businesses have opened and 2 have expanded; 3,300 residential units are under construction; 9 performance/gallery venues have either opened or are in the pipeline; and vacancy rates have decreased significantly.

The panel was impressed with the Central Market Economic Strategy's attentiveness to local conditions, transferability, short-term results, and the collaboration of a wide-range of stakeholders to produce results that are overcoming challenges to produce long-lasting economic value to the community. (Local contact: Jordan Klein; (415) 554-6645;