Southwest 8th Street, also referred to as Calle Ocho in this section, was in critical need of reconstruction. To that effect, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began the process of designing the road. However, the project faced public opposition, largely from businesses that feared loss of revenue during construction. Thus, the FDOT issued a Request for Proposals to engage the public in the decision. MRD Consulting was competitively awarded the contract.
- Create awareness of the critical need to reconstruct the road.
- Assess public acceptance for roadway reconstruction.
The approach aimed at bringing together, in a citizen advisory committee, businesses along Calle Ocho, as well as neighbors, civic groups and public elected officials in an effort to create a dialogue and build trust between the community and FDOT officials. The communication program consisted of constituency relations, media outreach, crisis communication, event management and influencer relations.
The project, with the strong support of the community, was successfully completed four months ahead of schedule. MRD Consulting received the Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for Community Relations in Government for the Calle Ocho project. This honor, symbolizing the forging of public opinion, is awarded annually by the Public Relations Society of America to public relations practitioners who have excelled in the four principal areas of the field: research, planning, execution and evaluation.