Municipal Minutes e-Newsletters

Municipal Minutes is an award-winning, electronic newsletter for the Gainesville community. The monthly e-newsletter provides information about upcoming activities, projects and events in the City of Gainesville. For more information about this e-newsletter, please contact the Communications Office at 334-5017. To subscribe to this monthly e-newsletter, enter your email address in the lower left area of this webpage and click subscribe.

April Featured Information

Thank You, Commissioner Budd, for Your Service!: Thank you, Commissioner Budd, for serving the City of Gainesville. We appreciate the hard work and dedication you gave the city and its residents over the years and wish you the best in your future endeavors! The last meeting for the outgoing commissioner, known as sine die, will be held at the regular scheduled City Commission meeting Thursday, May 3.

City of Gainesville Run-Off Election May 1: The City of Gainesville elections for district one and the at-large (seat 1) commissioners were held Tuesday, March 20. Because no candidate received the 50 percent majority in the district one race, the race will go to a runoff, which will be held Tuesday, May 1. Charles Goston and Gigi Simmons are on the ballot for the district one commissioner. For additional information on the election or the upcoming runoff, please visit or call 352-374-5252.

Congratulations to Commissioner-Elect Gail Johnson: Congratulations to Commissioner-elect Gail Johnson, who won the at-large commission seat on Tuesday, March 20. A swearing-in ceremony will be held Thursday, May 17.

Fire Assessment Program Applications Due May 1: Applications for the Fire Assessment Hardship Programs, Mobile Home/RV Park Vacancy Adjustment and the Fire Flow Mitigation Credit are now available. The applications are due by May 1, 2018. For more information, please see the Fire Assessment webpage or call 352-334-5078.

Construction and Capital Projects:
Depot Avenue Segment 4: Construction is underway for this project on Southeast Depot Avenue (Southeast Seventh Avenue) between Southeast Sixth Street and Southeast Williston Road. The replacement of the stormwater culverts at Sweetwater Branch Tributary and the new stormwater conveyance system have been completed. Upgraded streetlights, asphalt paving, decorative brick sidewalks and new curb and gutter are nearing completion for the new roadway. Construction is taking place under local closures to expedite the schedule. The project is about 85 percent complete, and is on schedule to be complete in spring 2018. For more information, please visit the project website or contact Stefan Broadus, project manager, at 352-393-8406 or
SE Fourth Street: The bid award for the construction of the Southeast Fourth Street project between Williston Road and Depot Avenue was recently approved by the City Commission. Along with the bid award, the City Commission also added undergrounding existing overhead utilities to the scope of the project. This will further enhance the transformation provided by the project that will also include reconstructing the roadway, cycle tracks and sidewalks on both sides, upgraded lighting and improved stormwater conveyance and treatment. Utility work began in February, and roadwork is anticipated to start in April. More information is available on the project website, or you may contact Stefan Broadus, project manager, at 352-393-8406 or

Wild Spaces, Public Places Project Updates:
Albert “Ray” Massey Westside Park Improvements: This Wild Spaces and Public Places project consists of multiple improvements to athletic fields that are over 40 years old.  One improvement that is currently underway is the installation of netting between baseball fields one and two and the concessions area.  The contract for the netting installation has been signed, and work is expected to be completed by the end of May. This will improve safety for patrons. Further field improvements are in the planning stage. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or
Lincoln Park Improvements: This Wild Spaces and Public Places project consists of multiple improvements to the park.  Field grading and other field improvements, such as new bases, home plate and pitcher’s rubber, was completed by city staff in late-March. For more information, please contact Nat Davis, project manager, at 352-393-8179 or

Advisory Board and Committee Openings: The Gainesville City Commission is currently accepting applications for quasi-judicial and other advisory boards and committees. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19, 2018. The following boards/committees currently have openings:
-Utility Advisory Board (1)
-Gainesville Art in Public Places Trust (4- no residency requirement)
-Gainesville Cultural Affairs Board (3- no residency requirement)
-Gainesville Housing Authority (1- no residency requirement)

Citizen and Customer Satisfaction

RTS Connect Phase I Meeting – April 3: RTS is hosting an RTS Connect Phase I public meeting Tuesday, April 3 from 7-9 p.m. at the Eastside Community (Recreation) Center at Fred Cone Park, which is located at 2841 E. University Ave. RTS Connect is a pilot program that offers additional, creative transit services in east Gainesville that eliminates the cost of going to the bus stop. Phase I (areas east of Southeast 43rd Street) will start in spring 2019. The 12-seat van service will pick up customers from their homes in the morning (5:30-9:30 a.m.) and drop them off at the nearest designated bus stop. In the evening (3:30-7:30 p.m.), it will pick up customers from the bus stops and drop them off in front of their homes.  If the program is successful, RTS will add Phase II (south of Southeast Hawthorne Road) and Phase III (Lamplighter Community and Southeast 15th Street south of the T.B. McPherson Recreation Center).  If Transit Connect works well in east Gainesville, it could expand in the future. 

Go Gainesville Bike Share: Where will a bike take you? With four stations in the system, it is convenient and easy to travel between downtown, the Innovation Square area and UF campus by bike. Stations are located at the Rosa Parks Downtown RTS Station (700 SE 3rd St), the corner of SW 3rd Ave and SW 13th St (next to the CVS in Social 28 right across from UF's Tigert Hall), Bo Diddley Plaza, and on the SW 6th Street Trail at SW 2nd Ave. You don’t have to fight for parking, and a bike is always there when you need one! The bikes can be rented by SMS text messages or via the Zagster mobile app for iPhone and Android on an hourly basis for $3/hour. Monthly passes ($15) and annual passes ($25) are also available, and then the first hour of every ride is free. For additional information, please visit

Interactive Bike Map Available Online: An interactive map featuring Gainesville's bike resources is available online. The map includes resources such as multi-use trails, bike lanes, bike boulevards and more!

Spring Pool Hours: Spring pool hours started March 24, 2018, and continue through June 3. H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool opens Friday, April 27 for the season. Complete pool hours are available on the pools webpage.


Sweetwater Wetlands Nature Park Tours: Tours are free with park admission, and begin from the Welcome Classroom Pavilion. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring water and binoculars. More information is available at or by calling 352-393-8437.

  • Ranger Tours are held the first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m.
  • “Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands”: This new tour is every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. September through May. Discover the rich diversity of birds at north central Florida’s newest birding hotspot in a two-three-hour walking tour. Birders of all levels are welcome. Birding field trips are led by volunteers from Alachua Audubon Society.


Gainesville Greenway Challenge Volunteer Workday on April 7: The Gainesville Greenway Challenge is a year-round effort whose aim is to restore natural habitat in Gainesville by removing invasive non-native plant species that threaten an ecosystem’s health.  Join the challenge and help us to eradicate the region’s most aggressive invasive plants in Gainesville’s nature parks! The Gainesville Greenway Challenge volunteer workdays take place on the first Saturday of every month from 9-11:30 a.m. Participants will work in local nature parks, removing non-native invasive plants to restore native habitat for the plants and animals that live there, and for people to enjoy. Groups can also arrange for special dates. Volunteers will work outdoors and should bring sunscreen, insect repellent, protective gloves and closed-toe footwear appropriate for wet conditions. The next volunteer workday is Saturday, April 7. Pre-registration is required; you may fill out the form online. For more information, email or call 352-393-8428.

Giveback Thursdays: Take advantage of the cooler weather and enjoy an opportunity to be out in nature every Thursday at a local nature park. Staff provides gloves, buckets, water and bug spray to attendees, and help with removal of invasive plants and trash. For more updates, please visit For more information, email or call 352-393-8428.


Seasonal Energy Tips from GRU: Be sure to check out the seasonal and year-round energy saving tips from GRU. Did you know that for each degree you increase the temperature from the recommended setting (68 in the winter and 78 in the summer), you can increase your energy bill by up to 4%? For more tips for this summer, please read more.

Upcoming Events

Spring Native Plant Sale - April 14: Celebrate Earth Day early by taking advantage of a wide offering of native north Florida plants during the 2018 Spring Native Plant Sale. Native plants are adapted to drought and the heat of summer, which helps reduce water consumption from irrigation, require less upkeep and help save money. The Spring Native Plant Sale is at Morningside Nature Center Saturday, April 14 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and is open to the public. An exclusive members only sale is Friday, April 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for members of the Friends of Nature Parks (FNP) and the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS). It’s easy to join in person or online, and memberships are available at the gate. Cash, checks and debit/credit cards are accepted. The Native Plant Sale is hosted cooperatively by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the Friends of Nature Parks and the Paynes Prairie chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

Jest Fest! - April 15: “The Greatest Show in Gainesville” features The World Famous Flying Wallendas and other circus and comedy stars performing live on five stages at the Historic Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville. Hilarity, hijinks and feats of derring-do thrill and amaze the entire family at this free event. The legendary Flying Wallendas star with their famous daredevil high-wire act, along with a revolving cast of circus stars, clowns, puppets, musicians and our fabulous food court! This year’s Jest Fest! Is Sunday, April 15 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center and Gardens. Come be a part of the fun! Look for the line-up at

2018 Gainesville Dash & Splash Series Begins April 28: If you want to test your athletic ability or reach a new goal, then lace up for this exciting series of races! The first race is Saturday, April 28 at Depot Park, which is located at 200 SE Depot Ave. This year, the four races will have a progressive length for the swimming and running courses.  Test the hills of Eighth Avenue or get out on Gainesville’s wooded trails! Don’t wait - sprint to enter! When you register early (more than two days before the race), you’ll save money and receive a unique t-shirt for each race. The entry fee for each race for early registration (more than two days before the race) is only $19 for city residents and $25 for non-city residents. After early registration ends, the fees are $25.50 for city residents and $38 for non-city residents. Proof of residency, a GRU bill or voter ID card is required at time of registration. You may register online at Remaining dates are May 19, June 30 and July 28.

Foundations Academy After-School Program Events: Foundations Academy takes place until Friday, June 1; activities play a vital role in the development and well-being of younger residents of the Gainesville community. Foundations Academy is a fun-filled, educational program for children, and has adopted the Florida Recreation and Park Association initiatives for programming to include education, health, economic development, environmental sustainability and community-building, in addition to Character Counts. To sign up your child for a great after-school experience, full information is available on the Foundations webpage.

Free Environmental Education Fall Programs Continue: The free, educational and fun-filled programs at Morningside Nature Center continue through May at Morningside Nature Center. There are many chances to explore our local heritage and environment. These fun, interactive programs provide a great chance for children (accompanied by an adult) to travel back in time to the 1870s at the Living History Days on the Living History Farm, or make new animal friends at Barnyard Buddies or Frogs and Friends Friday!
Living History Days: C’mon home to the Living History Farm and experience a time when the rooster’s crow and the rising sun, not an alarm clock, welcomed a new day! During Living History Days, interpreters portray day-to-day life on an 1870 Florida farm. Living History Days take place the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Saturday dates are April 7 and May 5. Step back in time, enjoy nature, and experience Florida as it was!
Barnyard Buddies Program:
Morningside Nature Center has a farm, e-i-e-i-o! On this farm, youngsters, with an adult, can meet and greet farm animals by helping staff with afternoon feeding on the Living History Farm. This program is free, but the animals love donations of carrots, squash, apples, sweet potatoes and melons (please give these items to a staff member and not directly to the animals). With a sheep here, and a cow there, learning about heritage breeds is fun! This program takes place Wednesdays at 3 p.m. at the Living History Farm.
Frogs and Friends Friday:
At the Frogs and Friends Friday program, children, with an adult, can join a Morningside Nature Center animal caretaker for an exciting and educational program featuring live amphibians and reptiles. Youngsters, with an adult, can join an animal caretaker for an exciting and educational program featuring live amphibians and reptiles. This free program begins at 2 p.m. the first Friday of the month in the Education Building. Frogs and Friends Friday dates are April 6 and May 4.

Spring Swim Lessons: Make a splash at one of our city pools by learning or practicing your swimming skills! We have convenient group and private lessons offered starting in April and continuing through October. Sign up early to guarantee a spot in our program. Prices and schedules are available on our swim lessons webpage.

Biddy Ball Starts in April: Biddy Ball is a new offering for youth athletics. With sessions for basketball and flag football available throughout the spring, children age three to five years old and their parents will have a great introduction to team sports. In Biddy Ball, parents and children will work together to learn the basic motor skills needed to successfully move on to more organized sports. This program prepares young children for the challenges of organized sports in a fun, friendly, easy-going environment. Parents get to spend quality time with their children, while helping them learn and build confidence. More information is available on the Biddy Ball webpage. The program schedule is as follows:

  • Basketball: April 3–26
    Flag Football: May 1–24
  • Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7 p.m.
  • Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.
  • The cost for each session is $ for city residents and $45 for non-city residents. Proof of residency, such as a utility bill or voter identification card, is required for city residents at time of registration. Scholarships are available.

Plan Now for Summer Camp: Start planning now for when school is out! We offer seven camp opportunities, with a variety of learning experiences and activities:

  • Happy Campers Summer Camp: Grades 1–5, five sessions
  • Teen Life Summer Camp: Grades 6 –8,  five sessions
  • Summer Earth Academy Day Camp: Grades 1–6,  1-week sessions
  • Earth Academy Junior Naturalist Program: Grades 7–12
  • Aquatic Leadership Camp: Ages 11–14,  1-week sessions
  • Youth Golf Camps at Ironwood Golf Course:  Ages 6–17
  • Pop-Up Theater Summer Camp: Introduces youth to “Twelfth Night”

Registrations are opening soon! Read all the details on our vacation camps webpage.

Art Exhibitions at the Historic Thomas Center Galleries: -INTO THE LIGHT The Rediscovered Painting of Louise Leak American artist Louise Leak (1939–1977) spent her abbreviated life in feverish pursuit of creative endeavor. The extraordinarily talented printmaker, painter, poet and dancer met an untimely death at age 38, leaving behind an abundance of work exploring her complex interior life. Leak’s sister, Gainesville resident Jane Myers, has amassed a large portion of the scattered body of work, including paintings only recently discovered after nearly 40 years hidden among the stored belongings of a friend of the artist. This exhibition showcases Leak’s work as a printmaker, from exquisite small prints to virtuoso major works. Together with paintings, sketches, and ephemera, the work affords an intimate glimpse into a young woman making her voice heard in the California art scene of the 1960s. The exhibition continues through Saturday, Aug. 18.

Gainesville Police Department Community Calendar: Did you know that GPD has a community calendar? The calendar shows meetings like neighborhood crime watch meetings, the Black-on-Black Task Force meetings and the Homeless Coalition meetings. Click here to find out the dates of these meetings and more!

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