Let us introduce you to our 2022 Candidates for the SPAR Board of Directors! The Board of Directors are presenting Daniel Ashworth Jr., Alison Blitch, Katie Derringer, Kimberly Green, and Tyler Grant as new candidates who would bring valuable skills, passion, and knowledge to our organization.
Please learn more about the candidates by reading their bios below. If you have any questions for them prior to voting at the annual meeting, please submit them before December 7th to [email protected] and the candidates will provide their answers at the Annual Meeting.
SPAR members will be able to vote on candidates at our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 7th at the Wells Fargo. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Aside from voting, SPAR members will receive updates about on-going projects and efforts in the community.
Daniel Ashworth, Jr.
Daniel is a Mississippi native who has lived in Philadelphia, PA, Orlando, FL, and Memphis, TN before arriving in Springfield in 2020. Daniel met his wife, Tonya, at a greenhouse while they were students at Mississippi State University (MSU), and they have an 8-year-old daughter, Nyssa. Tonya is also a Mississippi native and is a Duval County IFAS Horticulture Extension Agent with the University of Florida. Both Daniel and Tonya were firsts in their families to earn college degrees, including aunts, uncles, and cousins. Daniel's interests in urban design and traditional urban neighborhoods began with the book A Better Place to Live by Philip Langdon, which he read in an urban design studio at MSU, and the experience of living in West Philadelphia at a young age.
Daniel works to plan and design active, vibrant, and livable communities while striving to see those concepts become reality. He earned degrees in Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Landscape Contracting & Management from MSU and a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania (MLA) with collaborative study in the City Planning and Architecture departments at the Penn School of Design. Daniel is a licensed Professional Landscape Architect in four states (AL, FL, SC, and TN), and is a Certified Planner. His nearly 20 years of professional experience runs the spectrum from comprehensive planning to site design and construction administration for urban design, multimodal transportation, and parks & public spaces projects. Most of Daniel’s career has been centered around city-building through the spaces between buildings- rebalancing street space from cars to people, and designing parks and trails as economic development and social infrastructure for cities. In addition to SPAR, Daniel is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the American Planning Association (APA), and is an Advocate member with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). Daniel has presented his work at national conferences with the National Complete Streets Coalition of Smart Growth America, National ASLA, and the International Trails Symposium, and his work has been featured on blogs for ASLA, PeopleforBikes, Streetsblog, and Planetizen. In addition to working on state ASLA award-winning projects, his work on the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan streets & mobility element was recognized with the Daniel Burnham Award for best Comprehensive Plan by the National APA in 2020, and a CNU Charter Award in 2021. When he is not working, Daniel likes to spend time with family, work on projects around the house & yard, and run & work out.
Daniel is excited to further offer his talents and expertise to his neighborhood through his service on the SPAR Board. He looks forward to seeing Springfield continue its upward trajectory, which he believes SPAR to have been an instrumental part of that success. He aims to support continued, but compatible, development in the neighborhood, refreshing & beautifying the streets and parks of Springfield for all residents, along with supporting strategic and appropriate density in the form of "missing middle" and affordable housing in the neighborhood. His belief is that the more people Springfield can attract, the more able we can revitalize our mixed-use commercial corridors, activate and program our parks, push for safer streets, and make our neighborhood a more vibrant destination for all people.
Alison Blitch grew up in Port Orchard, just outside Seattle Washington. She enlisted in the United States Air Force December 1997 in Air Transportation. Her military career brought her to New Orleans, Louisiana and eventually to Jacksonville, Florida. While in the military, Alison completed her Bachelors Degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Throughout the course of her 24 years of service, she rose to the rank of Chief Master Sargeant (E-9), making her the first female to achieve this rank in her career field in the history of the Air National Guard. The military afforded her many opportunities that included travels around the globe, a deployment to Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom and to support recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Alison is currently retired from the Air Force, effective date Oct 15, 2022.
Alison’s adventure as a Springfieldian began in 2014 with the 1st of what would become 3 homes her and her husband purchased, all requiring major renovations. While their original intent was not to live in Springfield, within a matter of weeks she and her husband fell in love with the neighborhood and decided to become permanent residents. The architectural design of the homes and the welcoming community made the decision an easy one. As Springfield grew, so did her love of the neighborhood where she began volunteering for various events such as: Porchfest, Christmas Tree set up, hanging wreaths, throwing out the 1st pitch at a 4th of July baseball game, a community service project sponsored by SPAR, and Tour of Homes. Alison Blitch applied for the SPAR Board in hopes of giving back to a community that has given her so much.
Katie Derringer is a pseudo Jacksonville native, living in the city since age 8. Having sampled most parts of town, Katie and her wife finally made their way to Springfield in 2019 with a new construction home, and later took on a historic renovation in 2021. No matter the quadrant or age of the house, the Springfield neighborhood is definitely home. She wants to serve on the SPAR board to help preserve the unique character and diversity of the Springfield neighborhood and its inhabitants.
Katie currently works in the financial services industry, but has a diverse resume including teaching high school mathematics, real estate development, nonprofit management and legal support services. A graduate of Jacksonville University, she has also taken classes at the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville in pursuit of lifelong learning and growth.
Her prior volunteer experience includes Take Stock in Children, Jacksonville Public Library’s ESOL program, JASMYN, Groundworks Jax, the Crisis Text Line and Feeding Northeast Florida. She has two rescue pups and two older children who occupy her free time when not working or volunteering. Katie loves travel; her most interesting destination thus far has been Cuba and her bucket list destination is New Zealand.
Tyler Grant is a proud resident of the Springfield Historic District. Before moving to the neighborhood, Tyler lived in New York City and came to Florida to be closer to his family in Jacksonville. Tyler is an attorney holding a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Bachelor's from Washington & Lee University with a double major in Politics and East Asian Language and Literature (Chinese Specialization). Tyler also served as a Fulbright Fellow to Taiwan.
Since moving to the neighborhood, Tyler became involved in SPAR: attending events, participating on the Commercial Corridor Committee, and joining the Westside Baseball Club for its championship run this past Fourth of July. In a very short time, the neighborhood has come to mean a lot to Tyler and his family. The sense of community, the camaraderie, and the importance of the neighborhood within the context of the broader Jacksonville city are incredibly special. Tyler's mission on the Board will be to protect and strengthen this community and its interests by curating sustainable growth opportunities that enhance our livelihoods while also preserving the community's character. Tyler will be a gracious listener and fierce advocate for his neighbors both on the Board and when engaging with the City of Jacksonville and future neighbors and community investors.
Tyler is humbled by the opportunity to serve and looks forward to working with all stakeholders to continue the great legacy of Springfield.
Margaret, and her husband, David, have lived in Springfield since 2021. They moved here from Dallas, TX, where they lived in the Winnetka Heights Historic District neighborhood, which is a historic neighborhood in the Dallas urban core.
While living in Dallas, Margaret volunteered on two boards. She was the Treasurer for Heritage Oak Cliff (HOC). HOC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the 30 neighborhoods of the Oak Cliff region of Dallas. Their mission is “To preserve and enhance the architectural, historic, and cultural heritage and natural resources of Oak Cliff through direct action and public education.” They act as an advocacy group with the City of Dallas, as well as providing assistance, grants, and training for the individual neighborhoods. The second board she served supported her local neighborhood. Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association is a non-profit organization, established in 1981. They work to promote the enhancement of the neighborhood through investment in infrastructure, as well as community building through social/family events. Margaret served as the Home Tour Chairman on this board.