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Latest News from the City of Gainesville
Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/27/2015

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with Shakerag Culture Center, Inc., is pleased to announce the upcoming Jewel Box Concert at the Historic Thomas Center Thursday, June 11, featuring iconic bluegrass legends Missy Raines, Mike Compton, David Grier and Shad Cobb as the Helen Highwater Stringband.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door - cash or check only, please.

On Thursday, June 18, at 10 a.m., thousands of children and adults will unite at aquatics facilities around the globe to set a new global record for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL). The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is joining Team WLSL to once again break a world record and send the message that swimming lessons save lives. The global record attempt will take place at three Gainesville locations: Andrew R. Mickle Pool, Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool and H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool.

Team WLSL holds the current Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson, which stands at 36,564 participants representing 22 different countries! The 2014 WLSL event generated more than 50 million media impressions, spreading the event’s important message to hundreds of thousands of families.

“Our participation is meant to draw attention to a very important message - by teaching children to swim, we are having a real impact on reducing the drowning rate among children,” explains Michelle Weydert, program coordinator for athletics. “Our goal is to get the message out to the community that swimming lessons help save lives, while having fun at the same time!”

Tragically, drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-5, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

To participate in this event and be part of history, arrive at 9:45 a.m. (15 minutes before the swimming lesson) at one of the three Gainesville host location facilities: Andrew R. Mickle, Sr. Pool (1717 SE 15th St.) , Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool (1100 NE 14th St.) or H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool (1001 NW 31st Dr.). To learn more about this event, visit www.WLSL.org, www.CityofGainesvilleParks.org or call 352-334-5067.
The "City Manager’s Biweekly Report to the City Commission" provides information about significant upcoming activities, projects, and meetings in the City of Gainesville over the course of the next two to three weeks. In addition to brief descriptions on each of the upcoming activities, you can click on hyperlinks for more information regarding the presented topic. The May 21-June 3 edition is now available.
Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/20/2015

The Public Works Bicycle/Pedestrian Program invites the Gainesville community to a National Bike Month Awards Recognition to be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27 at the courtyard in front of Gainesville’s City Hall, which is located at 200 E. University Ave. This event continues Gainesville’s celebration of National Bike Month in May (established in 1956), and recognizes bicycle related efforts, outreach and accomplishments of area businesses, programs, groups and individuals.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/20/2015

The City of Gainesville is pleased to announce its formal designation as a Purple Heart City by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. This recognition provides the opportunity for the City of Gainesville to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, and who have been wounded or have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat for their country, while also honoring their families.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/20/2015

The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is happy to announce the promotion of John Weber to Parks Manager.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/20/2015
The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is pleased to announce that Russell Etling has accepted the position as the Cultural Affairs Manager. Etling was selected from a regional and national search that totaled 84 applicants.

Etling attended the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and graduated magna cum laude with a fine arts degree in theatre management from the University of Miami, Florida. Etling’s early career included work for Walt Disney Productions and the Shaklee Corporation’s Incentive Convention Shows. He produced and directed a primetime halftime spectacular for CBS television, promoted stadium concerts, staged numerous major fundraising events and was production manager/lighting director for the legendary singer Perry Como’s national concert tours. A member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1980, Etling has produced, stage-managed or appeared in more than 2,500 live performances with many of America’s greatest performers.

In 1988, he joined the Miami Museum of Science. During his tenure, the museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums. It also became one of the first Affiliates of the Smithsonian Institution, a national leader for training teachers in technology and mentoring low-income, minority youth and a regional resource for threatened and endangered raptor research and rehabilitation of injured birds of prey.

In the area of institutional advancement, Etling has a long history of fostering partnerships and cultivating support from the public and private sectors. In 2002, he created a major new traveling exhibition featuring a world-class collection of more than 250 artworks and artifacts that had been the personal possession of Napoléon Bonaparte, his family or members of his Imperial Court. The Treasures of NAPOLÉON opened in September 2005 at the prestigious National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC and toured significant venues across the U.S.

“I’m sure that by now, many of you have worked closely with Russell on the broad range of projects he has managed since stepping up to serve as interim manager,” said Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Steve Phillips. “Since he joined our team in 2011, Russell has been successful in elevating the quality of art exhibited at the Thomas Center Main Galleries, offering visitors not only a memorable and remarkable art experience, but also exhibiting work on loan from contemporary artists as well as private collections, showing art of both established and emerging artists together.”

“With so many new initiatives, Mr. Etling has placed the Historic Thomas Center as the cultural events center for the community and surrounding areas, and has been the force behind the development of the 352Arts Roadmap as the gateway to your cultural community!” continued Director Steve Phillips. “Russell has been amazing in creating collaborations with artists, art groups, and cultural organizations like Shakerag Culture Center, Inc. that make the Jewel Box Concert series possible!”

Etling has devoted his career to entertaining, educating and inspiring audiences on a variety of platforms, and has been active in many professional and civic organizations. His experiences make him exceptionally qualified to provide leadership to the Cultural Affairs Division.
Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/19/2015

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) is happy to announce that seasonal passes to enjoy the Sweetwater Wetlands Park are now available. The seasonal pass costs $25, and is valid from May through September 2015. The pass can be affixed to a car windshield, and may be transferred to another vehicle. Bicyclists or pedestrians that purchase a seasonal pass will need to carry it on them for admission. Passes are available for purchase in person at the PRCA Administrative Office, Thomas Center, Building B, 3rd Floor, 306 NE Sixth Ave., Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-6 pm. Sweetwater Wetlands Park, also known as the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration, is now open to the public on holidays, Saturday and Sundays from 7 a.m. to sunset. There entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The park is located at 325 SW Williston Road. For directions, a map can be viewed at https://goo.gl/maps/bK9YN.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/19/2015
In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, city offices will be closed Monday, May 25. RTS offices will also be closed and there will be no bus service. Normal ADA and paratransit service will not be provided.  Demand-response trips for paratransit will be provided, please contact MV Transportation to arrange trips at 352-375-2784. Residential curbside collection of garbage, recycling and yard trash will not be picked up Monday and be delayed one day for the entire week.
Posted by: Rawson, Laura
5/18/2015

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Department is happy to announce that Sweetwater Wetlands Park, formerly known as the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project, is now open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 7 a.m. to sunset. The entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The park is located at 325 SW Williston Road. For directions, a map can be viewed at https://goo.gl/maps/bK9YN.

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