Community Connections and Joan Canton Way Road Naming Celebration

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, SWAG paid tribute to our visionary, Joan Canton. The day’s celebrations started with a Road Naming Ceremony in her honor, followed by a Community Connections resource fair. The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to name a portion of 8th Avenue Joan Canton Way in May 2021. Then, the County was able to reveal and open the finished road a few months later. Be sure to watch the TV20 news segment covering this special day!

Joan Canton Way Road Naming Ceremony

The ceremony began with a group walk along the new section of 8th Avenue now known as Joan Canton Way. Then, the speakers delivered their messages to a seated audience in front of the SWAG Family Resource Center. SWAG board members Dorothy Thomas and Dorothy Benson spoke, along with Alachua County Commission Chair Ken Cornell and representatives from Joan’s family. The ceremony also featured the unveiling of the new road sign next to the SWAG Family Resource Center that now labels Joan Canton Way.

Everything that has been built in the community to serve the residents here is because of the vision Joan had for her community.

Dorothy Benson, SWAG Board Chair

Community Connections Resource Fair

After the Road Naming Ceremony, the festivities moved to the block of 8th Avenue between SW 64th Terrace and Squire Drive. Nineteen community partners set up tents on either side of the closed-off road. One of these partners was the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, which offered COVID-19 vaccines with Publix gift cards for those who received a dose. Community members who attended received a ‘bingo’ card that they filled in by visiting the resource booths. Then, at the end of the event, we raffled off gift cards to those who completed their cards. SWAG board members and volunteers also staffed masking and sanitizing stations at either end of the block. In addition, we served hamburgers and hot dogs for a grab-and-go lunch.

We want to extend a huge thank-you to our community partners who set up booths at the resource fair. These organizations included the following: