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.

March Featured Information

Pints for Perry Blood Drive March 6-10: The City of Gainesville is partnering with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers to host Pints for Perry, a blood drive in memory of Perry C. McGriff, Monday, March 6-Friday, March 10. This is to honor the contributions McGriff made to the Gainesville community by being a lifetime blood donor. McGriff died in February in Gainesville. While he contributed to his community in dozens of way – he was a former mayor, county commissioner and state representative – when it came to blood donation, McGriff had a passion for giving, and donated more than 67 gallons (or 536 pints) of blood throughout his life. The goal of the drive is to collect that same amount during the course of the week. Blood drives will take place throughout the community and at LifeSouth’s donor centers. Donors must be at least 17 (or 16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required. For LifeSouth center locations, blood drive times and center hours, please visit www.lifesouth.org. Blood drive locations are as follows:
Monday, March 6 – Gainesville City Hall, 200 E. University Ave.
Tuesday, March 7 – Gainesville City Hall, 200 E. University Ave.
Wednesday, March 8 – GRU, 301 SE Fourth Ave.
Thursday, March 9 – Gainesville Public Works, 405 NW 39th Ave.

A Few Spots Remain for Gainesville 101: Citizens' Academy: Learn how Gainesville became one of the top-ranked cities in the nation. Gainesville 101: The 2017 Citizens' Academy will give residents a behind-the-scenes look at city facilities and allow residents to meet their city's leaders. This series of free classes is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 15 and continue for seven weeks through April 26. Sessions are held from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register now, as space is limited! For more information, the schedule of events or to register, please visit http://academy.cityofgainesville.org.

City of Gainesville Elections March 14, Early Voting Begins March 6: City of Gainesville elections will be held Tuesday, March 14. Registered voters citywide will elect the at-large (seat 2) commissioner, and registered voters in districts two and three will each elect a commissioner to represent its district. Early voting is available Monday, March 6-Saturday, March 11 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., except Tuesday and Thursday, which will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Early voting has three designated sites: the Supervisor of Elections Office (515 N. Main St.), the Cone Park Library (2801 E. University Ave.) and the Millhopper Branch Library (3145 NW 43rd St.). For additional information on the upcoming election, including sample ballots, contact the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252 or visit www.VoteAlachua.com.

Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery:  Daylight saving time (DST) will officially begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12, which means we will move our clocks forward one hour. Gainesville Fire Rescue wants to encourage residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms every time there is a time change. This is the perfect time to adopt this simple, life-saving habit. The National Fire Alarm Code recommends a minimum of one smoke alarm on each level of a home, including one inside each bedroom for new construction and one outside each sleeping area. Homes should also have at least one working carbon monoxide detector. Through Project: Get Alarmed!, Gainesville Fire Rescue offers free smoke detectors including installation to homeowners who apply. Call 334-5065 or stop by any fire station for an application. Once the application is submitted, you will be contacted for an installation appointment.

Fire Assessment Program Applications Due May 1: Applications for the Fire Assessment Hardship Programs and the Fire Flow Mitigation Credit are now available. The applications are due by May 1, 2017. For more information, please see the Fire Assessment webpage or call 352-334-5078.

Construction and Capital Projects:
Depot Avenue Segment 4: The City of Gainesville has entered into a contract for construction management services with Charles Perry Partners, Inc., and began construction in February. The beginning stages of work include utility adjustments, replacement of the stormwater culverts at Sweetwater Branch and the construction of the new roundabout at Southeast Seventh Street. Construction will take place under local closures to expedite the schedule. The project is scheduled to be complete in spring 2018. For more information, please contact Stefan Broadus, project manager, at 352-393-8406 or broadusm@cityofgainesville.org.
Northwest 18th Street: Northwest 18th Street will be partially blocked between Northwest First Avenue and Northwest Second Avenue for the construction of One College Park Apartments until February 2018. This work is being performed by ZMG Construction, Inc. The contractor's contact person for this project is Mike Adam. For more information, please contact madams@zmgconstruction.com or 904-955-5477.
Southeast 2nd Avenue: Landscaped medians with irrigation will be constructed between Southeast Third Street and Southeast Seventh Street on Southeast Second Avenue. This project began in late February and will continue through April 2017. For more information, please contact Richard Melzer, project manager, at 352-393-8407 or melzerra@cityofgainesville.org
Suburban Heights Beville Creek Restoration: This project consists of the stabilization and restoration of a heavily eroded segment of Beville Creek, which flows through the Suburban Heights neighborhood. The restoration includes the construction of a series of armored step pools and one cascade features known as regenerative stormwater conveyance features. Additional stabilization improvements include gabion baskets, Flexamat (a rolled erosion control blanket) and native seeding and planting. The proposed work limits begin south of Northwest 14th Avenue and continue south and east approximately 1000 feet into Cofrin Nature Park.  Beville Creek provides wildlife with a connection from Cofrin Park to Kingwood Lake.  Construction is anticipated to begin in late March or early April and will last approximately four months.  For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8405 or waiteed@cityofgainesville.org.
Tumblin Creek Wetland and Trash Trap:  Construction is underway on the city’s newest sediment basin and trash trap. A recently completed watershed management plan for Tumblin Creek identified that a significant amount of trash and polluted runoff discharges into Bivens Arm which is listed as an impaired water body by the State. This nearly 300-foot-long regional wetland and trash trap will reduce the amount of pollutants from stormwater runoff from the city being discharged into this impaired water body. The project will consist of a trash trap to filter out heavier trash and a sediment trap to capture sediment that has been transported down Tumblin Creek.  The project is located at 1900 SW 13th St., and is anticipated to be complete by the end of May 2017.  For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8405 or waiteed@cityofgainesville.org.

Citizen and Customer Satisfaction

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 Third St), the corner of Southwest Third Ave. and Southwest 13th St. (across from UF's Tigert Hall), Bo Diddley Plaza and on the Southwest Sixths Street Trail at Southwest Second 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 http://zagster.com/gainesville/.

Adult Coed Basketball and Volleyball Leagues: Spike it into spring with great sports leagues. Adult Coed Basketball features 5-on-5 teams, and the Adult Coed Volleyball has competitive and recreational leagues. Each sport is offered for those 18 years and older, with games starting in March. For fees, registration dates, required forms and more, please visit the Adult Athletics webpage.

Spring 2017 Adult Coed Softball Registration Closes March 2: Don’t strike out; make a home run by signing your team up for Adult Coed Softball! Two coed leagues and a men's league are offered. The season begins March 6.  For fees, registration dates, required forms and more, please visit the Adult Athletics webpage.

Quality

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.

  • Ranger Tours are held the first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. and the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. (new time!)
  • “Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands”: This new tour is every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. for 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.
  • Run with a Ranger Tour: Want to learn more about this unique park and get in some exercise? Join one of our park rangers Saturday, Feb. 11 from 8-9 a.m. for a 3.2 mile run through this amazing park. On the tour, runners will see both the beauty of the wetland and learn how this park cleans our water and benefits the environment. The run will be at a non-competitive pace, with multiple stops along the tour. The tour is free with regular park admission ($5 per vehicle/$2 per bike or pedestrian). The running tour will meet at the park restrooms at 8 am. Snacks and water will be provided during and following the run. Registration is limited to the first 15 people. To register, visit https://goo.gl/forms/Y7g90MtTB7OLBqQ43.

More information is available at www.sweetwaterwetlands.org or by calling 352-393-8437.

Teamwork

Great American Cleanup - March 4: The Great American Cleanup starts March 1 and continues through May 31 each year. The main Alachua County event is Saturday, March 4 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Albert “Ray” Massey (Westside) Park, which is located at 1001 NW 34th St. The Solid Waste Division is heading up the City of Gainesville’s portion of the county-wide cleanup by providing supplies and equipment, designating clean-up sites within the city and coordinating the strategic placement of dumpsters and disposal for the collection of trash and recyclable materials such as tires, metal, bottles and cans. The Solid Waste Division will also have an informational recycling/adopt-a-street booth, along with other environmental booths, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.  For more information on becoming a volunteer or the information booths, contact Gina Hawkins of Keep Alachua County Beautiful at 352-371-9444, or visit www.kacb.org.

North Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Cleanup: The Solid Waste Division will help sponsor a Level II Neighborhood Cleanup at North Lincoln Heights Saturday, March 11. A level II cleanup entails the community coming together to organize a cleanup through Keep Alachua County Beautiful and the Solid Waste Division with volunteers from the neighborhood.  The Solid Waste Division furnishes the roll-off boxes, equipment and a Solid Waste inspector to oversee the staging area, which will be at the Church of the Kingdom of God (402 SE 14th St.) from 8-11 a.m.  The inspector distributes equipment and oversees the roll-off boxes to make sure there is no contamination or hazardous waste. After the event, the inspector ensures all equipment is returned and coordinates the pickup of the roll-off boxes. For more information, please contact Steve Joplin at 352-393-7961.

Dinner Theatre Fundraiser March 4 and 5: The Gainesville Woman’s Club is hosting two theatre performances as a fundraiser for the Gainesville Arts & Parks Foundation (GAP). The play, The Heroes of Bent Fork Bluff, tells the story of a handsome stranger who comes to a Texas town in 1875 to charm Laura Morgan. However, his past may catch up with him as he attempts to make good on a daring promise. The play will be performed at the Gainesville Woman’s Club, which is located at 2809 W. University Ave., Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 1 p.m. The Gainesville Woman’s Club has partnered with GAP to raise funds for renovations to the Northeast 31st Avenue Park. The park is in need of upgrades to its tennis and basketball courts, playground and community garden. Tickets for the event are $80 for the Saturday evening show and $40 for the Sunday matinee. For ticket purchases, call 352-376-3901, or purchase online at http://gfwcfl-gainesvillewomansclub.org/index_files/Page504.htm.

Tennis Visioning Session: Join us Tuesday, March 7 from 5-7 p.m. at Ironwood Golf Course for an evening of tennis visioning for Gainesville. Topics will include the needs for tennis in Gainesville, recommendations for addressing those needs, the suggested solutions (public, private, etc.), and the city’s role in accomplishing the vision. Light snacks will be provided. Please contact Glenda Tucker at 352-393-8357 if you have any questions.

Register for the 2017 GAP Charity Golf Scramble: Get on the links with the second annual Charity Golf Scramble to benefit Gainesville’s youth Friday, March 10 at Ironwood Golf Course, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the best Audubon Society certified golf course in north central Florida. All proceeds from the scramble go to youth summer camp scholarships. Player registration is $75 for an individual and $275 for a foursome. Registration fees include greens fee, cart fee, range balls, golfer gift, lunch and entrance to the awards dinner following the tournament. To register for the Golf Scramble, contact Michelle Park, C.P.R.P, assistant director for PRCA, at 352-393-8364 or parkma@cityofgainesville.org. If you would like to be a sponsor, contact Susan Bottcher, tournament chair, at 352-378-5492 or swbottcher@swet.com.

Sustainability

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

Baseball for All Begins March 5: Baseball for All is a free, adaptive program is offered through a partnership with the non-profit corporation Noah’s Endeavor, Inc., for children with special physical and developmental needs. The program teaches children to be comfortable on the field, while they have fun and learn important safety skills. For additional information, please contact Noah’s Endeavor at 352-275-9639 or info@noahsendeavor.org or visit their website at www.noahsendeavor.org. Baseball for All is at Westside Park, Ball Field #3 (1001 NW 34th St.) the following Sundays from 2–4 p.m.: March 5, March 12, March 19, April 2, April 9, April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 21.

Plan for Spring Break Camps (March 20-24): Plan ahead for spring break (March 20-24) and check out the several options offered by PRCA to make it a great week for kids, and convenient for busy parents. During camps, kids will enjoy games, activities and crafts that encourage achievement, a sense of community, good health and strong character!
Earth Academy Day Camp: Fantastic Florida & Where to Find It! Explore a Land surrounded by Three Seas and abundant with Natural wonders.  How do we look behind the magic that we see all around us? Quaere et Invenies (search and discover)! Join the Hogwallows School of Natural Wonders in our exploration of fantastic Florida and where to find it!
Location: Morningside Nature Center, 3540 E University Ave.
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. with early and late drop off available
Cost: City Residents: $121.50, Non-City Residents: $182.50
Ages: 1st–6th grade

Arts Camp at Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.): Is your child creative? If so, then this camp will be sure to fill that creative cloud. Campers will be kept busy while having fun with hands-on activities!
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $50, Non-City Residents: $74.75
Ages: 1st–8th grade

Sports Camp at Eastside Community Center (2841 E. University Ave.): This sports-themed week offers a wide variety of sports to keep your child engaged and on top of their game! We will have two off-site days that are sure to be a thrill.
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $50, Non-City Residents: $74.75
Ages: 1st–8th grade

American Red Cross Lifeguarding & Safety Classes Return March 23: Want to qualify for a great summer job? Get certified as a Professional American Red Cross Lifeguard! For those 15 years and older, the course is $175 and includes books and materials. Lifeguarding re-certification and adult/pediatrics first aid/CPR/AED classes are offered as well. Please visit our lifeguarding and safety classes page for more information.

Register Now for Out of School Days: Need a place for your kids to go on teacher work days or school holidays? Out of School Days camp hours are from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Fees are $5.75 per day/per child for city residents (proof of residency required) and $8.75 per day/per child for non-city residents. Lunch is not provided. You may register online or at the PRCA Administrative Office, which is located on the third floor of the Historic Thomas Center, Bldg. B, 306 NE Sixth Ave. Please call 352-334-5067 with any questions. The Recreation Division offers full day camps at Eastside Recreation Center and Albert "Ray" Massey Recreation Center for 1st-5th graders on the following dates:

  • Monday, April 1

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 March 4, April 1 and May 6. 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. in the Education Building. Frogs and Friends Friday dates are March 3, April 7 and May 5. 

Art Exhibitions at the Historic Thomas Center Galleries:
--82ºW / Six Degrees of Separation showcases the work of eight contemporary Cuban artists, and is part of the regional Bulla Cubana celebration of Cuban culture. It continues in the Main Gallery through March 25.
--Showcasing Student Art - Elementary Exhibition includes works of art that were created by Alachua County students during the 2016-2017 school year. It is open Saturday, March 11 through Saturday, April 8, and the opening reception is Thursday, March 30 from 6:30-8 p.m.

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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