December 2013 Municipal Minutes Available Online


Municipal Minutes is an electronic newsletter for the 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.





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Municipal Minutes e-Newsletter, December 2013, Volume VIII, Issue 12
Municipal Minutes is an award-winning, monthly electronic newsletter for the
Gainesville community. This e-newsletter provides information about
upcoming activities, projects and meetings in the City of Gainesville.

Featured Information
holiday greeting

December 25-26 - In observance of the holiday season, city offices will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25 and Thursday, Dec. 26. There will be a schedule change in curbside waste collection for Christmas week. Monday and Tuesday’s waste collection will be as scheduled; however, there will be a one day delay for Wednesday and Thursday collection. RTS will run its Sunday service on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Route run times are indicated by a “U” in the online and printed schedule. Paratransit service will be available between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. In observation of the Christmas holiday, RTS offices will be closed and there will be no bus or paratransit service on Dec. 25.
January 1 - City offices will observe the new year Wednesday, Jan. 1. There will be a schedule change in curbside waste collection for New Year's week. Monday and Tuesday’s waste collection will be as scheduled; however, there will be a one day delay for Wednesday and Thursday collection. Reduced bus service will be provided on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, and paratransit service will run as normal. In observation of New Year’s Day, RTS offices will be closed and there will be no bus or ADA service. Please visit for bus route and schedule information for the holiday weeks.

City Commission Special Meetings/Workshops: At the time of this publication, the following special City Commission meetings have been scheduled:

  • Monday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.: Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, Jack Durrance Auditorium
  • Monday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.: Joint city/county meeting to discuss fire services, Jack Durrance Auditorium

Gainesville's Little Ones: City of Gainesville employees and other Gainesville’s Little Ones supporters will provide approximately 35 needy families with toys, clothing and food this holiday season. Thanks to the time and dedication of a handful of city employees, GLO has assisted more than 1,000 disadvantaged families in the past 35 years.give a better way

Consider a Donation to Give a Better Way! this Holiday Season: All donations collected for Give a Better Way!, both online and at the donation meters, go to the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry (ACCHH) to help the homeless in our community. To learn more about Give a Better Way! or to donate online, please visit

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire Call to Artists: You're invited to apply as a merchant for the 28th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire! The faire, which will be held Jan. 25-26 and Friday, Jan. 31- Feb 2, transforms the Alachua County Fairgrounds into a medieval marketplace. In keeping with the faire’s authentic atmosphere, all crafts and wares should be consistent with the medieval theme. Participants must follow the faire’s guidelines by wearing medieval attire, speaking with a medieval accent and booths must be decorated in the appropriate medieval style. Artist applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, Nov. 4. For more information and application guidelines, visit or call 393-8536.

Citizen and Customer Satisfaction

Building Department Open on Fridays: The Building Department is now open Fridays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

RTS Observes the Holiday Season with Reduced Service: With the end of the fall semester and tn observance of the holiday season, RTS will provide reduced service starting Monday, Dec. 16 until Tuesday, Dec. 31. Reduced service run times are indicated by an ”R” in the online and printed schedules.  Paratransit service will run as normal. Please check the RTS website for more information at

Winter Hours for the Heated Northeast Pool:
Mondays - Fridays 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (open swim, lap lanes available all afternoon)
Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (open swim)
Closed on Sundays
The pool will be open Monday, Dec. 23 from 12-5 p.m. and closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Parking Safety Tips: With the holiday season upon us, many of us will be out more than usual this month, which means more parking than usual. Please stay safe by following these safety tips that were taken from Tom Patire's Personal Protection Handbook.
-Hide or remove your valuables when leaving your car.
-Park close to your destination, especially if it's going to be dark when you return, even if it means waiting for a space to become free.
-At night, try to park under a street light.
-Leave your engine running until you've gathered everything and you're ready to get out of the car. Check your surroundings to make sure they look safe before you get out of the car.
-If you're comfortable backing into parking spaces, it's a good way to park, because it means you can leave quickly if the situation becomes dangerous.
-When you're walking back to your car, keep your keys in hand so you can get into the car quickly or use them as a weapon if needed.
-Always take the most brightly lit path to and from your car.
-After you open the car door, check the front and back seats to make sure no one is hiding inside.
-Lock your doors once you get inside the car.
-If someone suspicious approaches you, honk your horn and flash the lights to draw attention.
-If your sixth sense suggests danger when you are parking or coming back to your car, leave the area until you're sure it is secure.

RTS Spring Schedule:  RTS begins its normal spring 2014 schedule Tuesday, Dec. 31.  This schedule will be available on the RTS website before the Christmas holiday and printed schedules will also be available at their normal locations and on RTS buses. 



Recycle Your Christmas Tree and Gift Wrap: Wrapping paper and gift boxes can be recycled in your curbside orange bin. Christmas trees can be placed at curbside for pick up on your regular trash day. The trees need to be stripped of all decorations, including ornaments, bows, tinsel and lights. Additionally, trees can be dropped off at no charge at Wood Resource Recovery, which is located at 10606 N. State Road 121 (352-378-9133).

Recycle Your Holiday Lights: Christmas tree and other ornamental lights can be recycled at the Public Works Center, which is located at 405 NW 39th Ave.  There is a green cart by the front door of the main lobby that is available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

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), you can increase your energy bill by up to 4%? For more tips for this upcoming winter, please read more.

Upcoming Events

Celebrate the Season with the Thomas Center Tree-Lighting and Duck Pond Luminaries on Saturday, Dec. 7: On Saturday, Dec. 7, the city is hosting its annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at the Historic Thomas Center, which will run from 6-8 p.m. The heart of the celebration is the holiday decorations on the giant tree and around the building, which are annually provided by the Thomas Center Associates. The adjacent Duck Pond neighborhood will sparkle with luminaries, and entertainment will include holiday caroling and music, and a special visit from Santa Clause! Carriage rides provided by the Duckpond Neighborhood Association will be available for a nominal fee and will tour the historic Duck Pond area for its annual luminaries display. The 15-minute rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis from 6-9:15 p.m.

Downtown Countdown Dec. 31: Every New Year’s Eve, downtown Gainesville rocks as the New Year is rung in at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza with live music provided by the area’s most popular bands. A countdown to the New Year at midnight is celebrated with free noisemakers and merry making all-around. This year’s headliner is The Impostors, a Beatles tribute band, with Crooked Counsel, a classic rock cover band, opening the show. Downtown Countdown is 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Bike/Ped Program at Cone Park Library Branch Grand Opening: The Bicycle/Pedestrian Program is participating in the Cone Park Library Branch grand opening Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, volunteering or scheduling a bicycle/pedestrian related event, please contact Dekova Batey, Bicycle/Pedestrian Program coordinator at 352-393-8493 or

Operation Letters to Santa: The holidays are fast approaching, have you started your letter to Santa? The Jolly Old Elf himself wants to hear from you! Operation Letters to Santa program is open for all children in kindergarten through third grade (or any child that still “believes”). This is a free program and is open to all Gainesville residents. Letters must be postmarked or received by Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Staff will make sure Santa will read and respond to each letter. Letters to Santa can be dropped off at the following locations: Eastside Community Center, Clarence R. Kelly Community Center, Porters Community Center and the Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center and our Administrative Office, located on the third floor of Building B at the Historic Thomas Center.
They can also be faxed to 352-334-3299 or mailed to:
PRCA Administrative Office
c/o Operation Letters to Santa
PO Box 490, Station 24
Gainesville, FL 32627
Each letter should be no more than one page in length and should contain the child’s name, age, gender, mailing address (including ZIP code), two accomplishments (good grades, etc.) and their top three wishes from Santa. Please note the department will not be distributing gifts. No emails, please, only hard copies of letters.

Winter Break Camp: Winter Break Camp is available 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on the following days: Monday, Dec. 23 –Tuesday, Dec. 24; Friday, Dec. 27; Monday, Dec. 30–Tuesday Dec. 31; and Thursday, Jan. 2- Friday, Jan. 3. Camp locations are the Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center, which is located at 1001 NW 34th St., and the Eastside Community Center, which is located at 2841 E University Ave. The camp’s cost is $46.25 for city residents (with proof of residency) and $69.50 for non-city residents.

hoggetowne kidHoggetowne Medieval Faire Art & Essay Contest: The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is hosting a Student Art and Essay Contest. All area students from kindergarten through high school are invited to participate in the annual Student Art & Essay Contest. All of the entries will be displayed at the Faire. The work of all 56 winners will be displayed at the Alachua County Library Headquarters during the month of January. All winners will receive two complimentary passes to the Faire. A special Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, January 25, at the Royal Court inside the Faire. The King and Queen will award three grand-prize winners with $25 gift certificates to be spent at the Medieval Faire. The deadline for all entries is Monday, Dec. 2. For more information, please call Linda Piper at 352-393-8536 or visit

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 $5.50 per day/per child for city residents (proof of residency required) and $8.40 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 on the following dates:

Youth Coed Basketball Registration Open: Through fitness, fair play and sportsmanship, the program teaches youth, ages 5-14, how character counts on and off the court. There are no try outs, and each participant gets to play. Practice starts Monday, Dec. 2 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center, which is located at 1028 NE 14th St., from 6-8 p.m. Games begin in January, and run through March 2014, taking place in Alachua County and the surrounding areas. To help players’ improve their skills, there will be a special two-night clinic hosted by Eastside High School varsity boys basketball Coach Herman “Pop” Williams and the Eastside basketball team. For 5–10 year-olds, the clinic will be Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 6–8 p.m. and on Thursday, Dec. 19, from 6–8 p.m. for 11–14 year-olds, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center. You will receive a $10 discount if you register before Dec. 2. Registration closes Dec. 19.

Water Aerobics Classes Available: Aqua-Fit water aerobics classes are being offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Northeast Pool. This low/medium-intensity class offers aerobic cardio and core training, and also focuses on flexibility and total body toning, and certified instructors teach the class. The fee is $2.55 per class, or you can purchase eight classes up front and receive two free classes (on a punch card)! Punch cards are available at Northeast Pool, or by stopping in at the administrative office on the third floor of the Thomas Center B.  For more information, please call 334-5067.

Environmental Education Fall Programs: The fall programs began in September and run through May 2014 at Morningside Nature Center. Please note the events are free and open to the public.
Barnyard Buddies (Wednesdays at the Living History Farm): Youngsters, with an adult, can meet and greet farm animals by helping staff with the afternoon feeding. You may bring food donations for the animals (carrots, squash, apples, sweet potatoes), but please give it to the staff. This free program begins at 3 p.m. and lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. Frogs and Friends Fridays (first Friday of the month, in the Education Building): Youngsters, with an adult, can join a Morningside Nature Center animal caretaker for a fun and education program where awesome amphibians and remarkable reptiles are the stars of the show. This free program begins at 2 p.m. Living History Days (first Saturday of each month): During Living History Days, interpreters portray day-to-day life on an 1870 Florida farm every Saturday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Foundations After-School Program: To have a strong, sound structure you have to begin with a solid foundation! Foundations After-School Program began in September and continues through Thursday, June 5, 2014. The program aims to foster ethical values and teach academic and life skills for youth. Participants will be involved in structured activities, such as tutoring, homework help, arts/crafts, recreation and sporting activities. All children are welcome, pre-registration is required. Space is limited and is available on a first come first serve basis. Transportation is not provided for this program. The program is for kids in first-eighth grade and there are convenient locations at four of our recreation and community centers (Albert "Ray" Massey Recreation, Eastside Community, Clarence R. Kelly Community and Porters Community Centers). For full details, go to or call 352-334-5067.

Art Exhibitions at the Historic Thomas Center Galleries:

-Pieces of Dreams: The Art of Lorelei Esser runs through Jan. 4 in the Main Gallery.
-Gainesville Fine Art Association 2013 Showcase runs Nov. 22-Jan.4 in the Mezzanine Gallery, with an opening reception Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6-8 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!

  • Friday, Jan. 17
  • Friday, Feb. 17
  • Friday, April 4
  • Friday, June 6

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