The 2023 Florida Redevelopment Association (FRA) Awards witnessed a remarkable moment of recognition as Ronni Wood, a seasoned and dedicated professional in the field of downtown redevelopment, was honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The accolade was presented during the 2023 FRA Annual Conference and Awards Reception, where the outstanding contributions of community organizations, as well as individual excellence, were celebrated.
With a career spanning several decades, Ronni Wood’s journey in downtown redevelopment began in 1987 when she assumed the roles of Lake Wales Main Street Executive Director and CRA Director shortly after completing her M.B.A. During her tenure in Lake Wales, she demonstrated a deep commitment to the revitalization of the city’s downtown area and graduated from the National Main Street Center Professional Certification Institute. Her dedication and expertise led to her election to the FRA Board of Directors in the early 1990s, culminating in her service as President in 1995.
After nine fruitful years with Lake Wales Main Street, Ronni accepted the position of Executive Director of Main Street Winter Haven. Under her leadership, downtown Winter Haven witnessed a remarkable transformation, with over $36.6 million in new investment, the creation of more than 600 net new jobs, and the establishment of 100 new businesses.
Ronni’s exemplary career took another turn when she was recruited to serve as the State Coordinator for the Florida Main Street Program at the Florida Department of State. In this role, she provided guidance and oversight to more than 50 local Main Street programs, leaving an indelible mark on community revitalization across the state.
Even in her “retirement” from the Department of State, Ronni’s unwavering passion for downtown revitalization led her back to where her journey began—Executive Director of Lake Wales Main Street. With immense pride and enthusiasm, she continues to collaborate with both the public and private sectors to bring to fruition Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s 100-year-old vision for downtown: “A City in a Garden.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award given to Ronni Wood at the 2023 FRA Awards not only recognizes her remarkable career but also serves as a testament to her enduring commitment to enhancing Florida’s communities through downtown revitalization.