December 19th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

County Commission Embraces a New Business and Economic Development Growth Action Plan
William Northcutt Appointed Fire Chief
“Saving My Alachua” Environmental Art Contest
County “Water Wonderland” Featured in Festival of Trees
Horner Receives Florida Associate Emergency Manager Credential
Tools for Schools Makeover
Annual Recognition Luncheon for FGP Volunteers
Christmas and New Year’s Schedules
“NW 16th Ave Transformation” December Project Update
Holiday Lights Collection and Recycling
Trashformation Recycled Art Competition Winners
Sandhill Habitat Restoration at Boulware Springs Nature Park and Sweetwater Preserve
Commission Highlights

County Commission Embraces a New Business and Economic Development Growth Action Plan

On December 9, 2014, the County Commission received a presentation on the Business and Economic Growth Action Plan. The Commission directed staff to move forward with implementing the recommendations.

Read the Business and Economic Growth Action Plan.

Watch the December 9 Board of County Commissioners discussion on the Business and Economic Development Growth Action Plan (Click on item 9 in the menu below the video screen to jump to that item ).

The preparation of the Plan is the culmination of a year of collaborative effort involving the Alachua County Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Alachua County staff and citizens.

Its intention is to provide specific, actionable items that the County can perform to facilitate economic development and improve the climate for starting and growing a business in Alachua County.

The Action Plan is meant to complement other economic development efforts currently taking place within the County by fostering collaboration with partners, leveraging and strengthening assets, ensuring availability of information, and fostering efficiency in the development process.
The Action Plan is divided into the following six sections: Introduction, Economic Picture, Focus Areas, Recommendations, Implementation, and Appendices.

The Board also directed staff to work with local governments, educational institutions, and private providers of internet services, to improve the countywide speed and reliability of broadband internet. The Board noted that this improvement is important to the entire community in that our innovation economy and modern educational and government programs require this basic infrastructure .

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William Northcutt Appointed Fire Chief

Alachua County Manager, Lee A. Niblock is pleased to announce the appointment of William K. Northcutt as Alachua County Fire Chief.

Chief Northcutt began his career with the County in 2010.  Prior to that, he worked with the City of Gainesville Fire Rescue Department as a firefighter/paramedic and Fire Chief, and the Orange County Fire Rescue Department as a firefighter/paramedic.

Chief Northcutt holds an Associate of Arts in Fire Science from Central Florida Community College, an Associate of Arts from Santa Fe College, certification as an Executive Fire Officer from the National Fire Academy, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Eckerd College.  Chief Northcutt is also a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Florida Fire Chiefs Association. He is certified as a firefighter, paramedic, and Chief Fire Officer.

“After conducting a thorough national search, I am very happy to announce this selection,” Dr. Niblock said. “Chief Northcutt brings a wealth of professional experience to the position and will serve our citizens well.” 

In speaking of the appointment Chief Northcutt said, “I am excited about continuing the programs put in place by former Chief Bailey. My greatest challenge will be to support our talented staff as we work to address the changing service demands in Fire Rescue, Emergency Management and 911 services.”

For more information contact Alachua County Fire Rescue at 352-384-3101.

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“Saving My Alachua” Environmental Art Contest

The Alachua County Environment Protection Department invites students to participate in the County’s second annual “Saving My Alachua” Environmental Art Contest. The contest is open to all K-12 students in Alachua County, including homeschoolers, and encourages students to create artwork depicting their passion for the environment.

The artwork should address one of the following topics: water conservation, stormwater pollution, natural habitat protection, wilderness and wildlife protection, or proper disposal of toxic waste. Submissions must be no larger than 8 ½” x 11” in size, and must be presented horizontally (landscape). The deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 12, 2015.

Ribbons will be awarded for first, second, and third place in each of the thirteen grade categories.  Selected winners will be featured in the 2016 Saving My Alachua Calendar.  All winning artwork will be displayed in the County Administration Building during the month of April 2015.

“Last year’s inaugural contest was a great success with 185 submissions from 11 Alachua County schools,” said Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Senior Planner, Eliana Bardi.

View the contest flier and entry form.

Visit the Saving My Alachua Art Contest Facebook page.

The 2015 Saving My Alachua Calendar features winning artwork along with tips on protecting the environment, and is now available for pick up at the office of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (408 W. University Ave, Suite 106, Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) while supplies last.

For more information, contact Eliana Bardi at 352-264-6810 or ebardi@alachuacounty.us.

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County “Water Wonderland” Featured in Festival of Trees

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department created a “Water Wonderland” holiday tree for the Festival of Trees Showcase and Silent Auction at The Square at Tioga Town. The Festival of Trees was open from Friday, December 5, 2014, until Saturday, December 6. Proceeds from the event benefited the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. 

“We are always looking for creative ways to inspire citizens to consider the importance of our water and springs.” said Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Water Conservation Coordinator, Stacie Greco. She continued, “We decorated the tree with pictures of local springs, hand sewn water droplets containing tips on how to reduce water use and personal pollution, wildlife finger puppets, and traditional silver and blue ornaments. Under the tree were donated gift certificates from Blue Springs, Ginnie Springs, and Rum138 along with a signed copy of Cynthia Barnett’s book Blue Revolution.”

For more information, contact Stacie Greco at 352-264-6829 or Sgreco@alachuacounty.us

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Horner Receives Florida Associate Emergency Manager Credential

Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Emergency Management Program Coordinator, Jennifer Horner has received the Florida Association Emergency Manager credential from the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association. Ms. Horner has been invited to the 2015 Florida Emergency Preparedness Association’s Annual Meeting in February to be recognized for this achievement.

The certification process involves an extensive credentials package review that includes work history, disaster or exercise experience, 125 hours of general and emergency management training, as well as four professional contributions in the emergency management field. Statewide, there are only 22 other emergency management professionals who have received this certification.

“Jen continues to do outstanding, professional work which is a credit to her, Fire Rescue and Alachua County.” said Emergency Management Director, Dave Donnelly.

For more information, contact Alachua County Emergency Management at 352-264-6500 or acem@alachuacounty.us.

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Tools for Schools Makeover

The Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives is pleased to announce that the Tools for Schools office (1147 SE 7th Avenue, Gainesville) is being renovated.

Through generous donations from Mallard Construction & Remodeling and Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, the Tools for Schools building is getting a new roof, soffit, fascia, construction improvements, and landscaping. The estimated total value of their contribution is over $14,000.

According to William Bedenbaugh, Assistant Manager of Lowe’s in Alachua, “Lowe’s loves to support the community whenever we are able, especially when it comes to education.” He continued, “Tools for Schools is an amazing resources for teachers, and we were excited to be involved in this project.”

Tools for Schools is a reusable resource center dedicated to giving free school supplies to public school teachers in the County. The program is run entirely by donations from local businesses and people in the community.

Visit the Tools for Schools website.

For more information, contact Waste Alternatives Specialist Fae Nageon de Lestang 352-548-1283 or fndelestang@alachuacounty.us.

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Annual Recognition Luncheon for FGP Volunteers

Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) recognized its volunteers at a luncheon on Friday, December 5, at the Best Western Gateway Grand. Pastor Kevin Thorpe was the Master of Ceremonies.

FGP was established in Alachua County in 1973, and is celebrating 41 years of service in Alachua County. FGP is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. Eligible low-income seniors volunteer and serve throughout Alachua County in child care centers, public schools, and after school programs.

In exchange for their service, the volunteers receive a tax-free stipend of $2.65 per hour, meals, assistance with transportation, and supplemental insurance.

The program is accepting applications for new volunteers. Applicants must be Alachua County residents age 55 or over.

For applications or more information, contact the Foster Grandparent Program Office at 352-264-6758.

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Christmas and New Year’s Schedules

Other than emergency services, all Alachua County Commission government offices will be closed on December 25, 26, and January 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Curbside Waste Collection/Collection Centers

Residential curbside collection service for solid waste, recycling and yard trash will be delayed one day for the remainder of the week following each holiday (December 25 and January 1). Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s regular solid waste collection will not be affected by these holidays. Thursday’s collection will occur on Friday and Friday’s collection will occur Saturday. The regular schedule for these services will resume the following week. 

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers will be closed December 24, 25, and January 1. The Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station will be closed December 25, and January 1.

The Hazardous Waste Collection Center will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. The Office of Waste Collection will be closed December 25, and 26, January 1 and 2. The regular schedule for these services will resume January 3.

For more information, contact Alachua County Waste Collection Manager, Milton Towns at 352-338-3233.

Animal Services

Animal Services will be closed on December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday).

For animal emergencies during the holiday period, contact the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office at 352-955-1818.

For more information, contact Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

Clerk of the Court

The Office of the Clerk of the Court will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

For more information, contact the Office of the Clerk of the Court at 352-374-3636

Property Appraiser

The Property Appraiser’s Office will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

For more information, contact the Property Appraisers Office at 352-374-5230

Tax Collector

The Tax Collector’s Office will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

For more information, contact the Tax Collectors Office at 352-374-5236

Supervisor of Elections

The Supervisor of Elections Office will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

For more information, contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252

Health Department

The Health Department will be closed December 25, 26, and January 1. All other days, offices will be open regular hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

For more information, contact the Health Department 352-334-7900.

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“NW 16th Ave Transformation” December Project Update

Alachua County Public Works is informing citizens with a monthly press release giving updated information on the “NW 16th Ave. Transformation” project.

The 4 mile project includes milling, resurfacing, and reconstruction of NW 16 Ave (from NW 57 Terrace to NW 13 St.). It also includes widening 16th Ave to 4-lanes (from NW 57 Terrace to NW 55 St.), widening the sidewalks, upgrading the pedestrian facilities to meet current ADA requirements, addressing safety and operational issues through intersection and median opening modifications, and stabilizing the retaining walls along the corridor.

During the month of November, the contractor completed the sidewalk widening on the south side of the roadway from NW 43rd St. to NW 40th Terrace (0.3 miles), and began water main relocation and clay removal from NW 31st St. to NW 22nd St. Sidewalk widening, signal work, water main relocation, and clay removal will continue throughout December and motorists should expect nighttime lane closures along the project corridor. Additionally, the corridor has been reduced to one lane in each direction from approximately NW 31st Drive to NW 22nd St. Staff encourages motorist to adhere to the reduced speed limit of 30 MPH through this section for the safety of construction personnel, and for the safety of other motorists entering and exiting the roadway. Public Works also encourages motorists to stay informed about the project by viewing the project report sheet.

Click to view the NW 16th Ave Transformation project report (PDF). This document will be updated monthly and changes/new information will be highlighted in red.

In addition to previously mentioned nighttime lane closures and lane reductions, traffic patterns will be altered from approximately NW 58th Blvd. to NW 54th Terrace to complete roadway widening and reconstruction. The contractor has scheduled to begin implementing the new traffic patterns this month.

The current estimated completion date for the entire project is May 2015.

For more information, contact Alachua County Transportation Engineering Manager Brian Singleton at 352-548-1306 or bsingleton@alachuacounty.us.

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Holiday Lights Collection and Recycling

The Alachua County Public Works Office of Waste Alternatives is collecting unwanted or broken strings of holiday lights for recycling. This includes string lights, broken or unwanted cables, and cords.

Holiday lights can be brought to any of these locations:

The Rural Collection Centers- Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Alachua/High Springs (16929 NW US Hwy 441)
Archer (19401 SW Archer Rd)
Fairbanks (9920 NE Waldo Rd)
North Central (10714 N SR 121)
Phifer (11700 SE Hawthorne Rd)

Leveda Brown Environmental Park- Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (5115 NE 63rd Ave)

Alachua County Public Works- Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (5620 NW 120th Lane)

For more information, contact the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5213.

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Trashformation Recycled Art Competition Winners

The 16th Annual “Trashformations” student recycled art competition was held the evening of Friday, November 21, 2014, at the Florida Museum of Natural History.  All artwork was comprised of 70% or more recycled/recyclable/reused materials. The Alachua County Public Works Office of Waste Alternatives and the Florida Museum of Natural History are pleased to announce this year’s winners:

Middle School
First: Anthony “Buddy” Ramsey and Landon Dotson, “Sko Scouch”
Second: Sydni Solomon, “A Zero Calorie Meal”
Third: Laura House, “What Came First: The Chicken or the Egg Carton?”
Honorable Mention: Garrett Wood, “Flower”
Waste Watchers Award: Katherine Buchanan, “Wild to Recycle”
Museum Award: Maddy Beck, Avery Little, and Chandler Spilman, “Garden Life”

High School
First: Sopicha Vongvanij, “Out of Wasteland”
Second: Jiho Lee, Sarah Lulu and Zayna Akins, “Trash Reborn into the Tree of Life”
Third: Ryan Concannon, “Light as Air”
Honorable Mention: Austin Perry, “Welded Widow”
Waste Watchers Award: Samantha Harden, “Corvus”
Museum Award: Sopicha Vongvanij, “Out of Wasteland”

College
First: Victoria Heuston,”Systems”
Second: Taylor McCormick, “The Struggle”
Third: Elena Lozono,”MMXIV”
Honorable Mention: Kathleen Vazquez, “Hello”
Waste Watchers Award: Jody Berman, “Hope”
Museum Award: Mckenna Wilson, “Beehive”

The winning art was on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History through November 30. View event photos at the Alachua County Recycles Facebook page.

For more information on the event contact the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5213.

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Sandhill Habitat Restoration at Boulware Springs Nature Park and Sweetwater Preserve

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department and the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department are pleased to announce the upcoming habitat restoration projects at Boulware Springs Nature Park (3300 SE 15 Street, Gainesville) and Sweetwater Preserve (95 SE Williston Road, Gainesville). The long-term goal of the restoration is to bring back the former Sandhill habitat and restore biodiversity to the site. This work will be initiated before the end of this year, with the removal of hardwood trees not native to Sandhill habitat.

The upcoming tree removal will require the temporary closure of the portion of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail adjacent to the park. Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail bicycle and pedestrian traffic will be re-routed around the closed segment of the trail for an undetermined (but short) period of time before the end of the year. When the project begins, barricades and signage will be posted on the trail, and maps showing the detour will be posted on the City of Gainesville’s and Alachua County’s websites. Additionally the East Trail and trailhead at Sweetwater Preserve, adjacent to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, will be closed for the duration of the restoration project. Active tree removal will take about one week, but the restoration will be ongoing for a number of years.

The south entrance to Boulware Springs will remain open, and the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail between Boulware Springs and Hawthorne will not be affected throughout the restoration process.

For more information, contact Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Land Conservation Biologist Sandra Vardaman at 352-264-6803 or SMVardaman@alachuacounty.us, or City of Gainesville Nature Operations Manager Linda Demetropoulos, at 352-393-8445 or demetropls@cityofgainesville.org.

For project details and updates, visit the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department’s Land Conservation News website, or the City of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs website.

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Commission Highlights

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame Day
The Board proclaimed January 11th, 2015 as “Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame Day” in Alachua County, Florida
Attachment: 
MLK Hall of Fame Day 2015.pdf

King Celebration Week 2015
The Board proclaimed January 11-20, 2015 as “King Celebration Week 2015” in Alachua County, Florida
Attachment: 
MLK Celebration 2015_1.pdf

Healthiest Weight Day
The Board proclaimed January 5th, 2015 as “Healthiest Weight Day” in Alachua County, Florida
Attachment: 
Healthiest Weight Florida Day 2015.pdf

Civil War Battles in Gainesville
The Board Hear the Alachua County Historical Commission 3 minute reading of local history titled “Civil War Battles in Gainesville.”
Attachment: 
Civil War Battles in Gainesville.pdf

Results of a Nonbinding Referendum
The Board approved the resolution proclaiming the results of a nonbinding referendum held at the general election on November 4, 2014, to determine elector sentiment on amending the Constitutional of the United States to provide that only natural persons are entitled to constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Attachment: 
MovetoAmendVoteResults.pdf

Business and Economic Growth Action Plan
The Board heard the presentation about the proposed Business and Economic Growth Action Plan, and direct staff to move forward with implementing recommendations.
Attachment: 
Business and Economic Growth Document 11.24.2014.pdf

UF Campus Master Plan Update
The Board accepted the presentation from staff on the UF Campus Master Plan update
Attachment: 
CMPUpdateBoCC.pptx
Attachment: 
CMPUpdateBoCC.pdf

Property Assessed Clean Energy
The Board heard a presentation on the status of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs in Florida,and instructed staff to: proceed with an RFP process requesting a Third Party Administered PACE program for unincorporated Alachua County, to include program(s) that best meet the governance, administration, cost and stakeholder preferences as outlined in staff’s report and; the total scope and extent of services provided by the programs. Expidite moving ahead with this program. 
Attachment: stakeholder questions matrix.pdf
Attachment: 
appendices.pdf
Attachment: 
comparative matrix.pdf
Attachment: 
summation report.pdf

Future Land Use Map 2030
Concerning CPA-08-14: A request to amend the Future Land Use Map 2030 on approximately 8.5 acres of land from Medium Density Residential to Medium High Density Residential the Board hear the item and adopt Ordinance 14-xx approving the request with the bases noted in the staff report
Attachment: 
Public Comments.pdf
Attachment: 
Powerpoint for CPA0814 and ZOM0714.pptx
Attachment: 
Powerpoint for CPA0814 and ZOM0714.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA0814 and ZOM0714 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA0814 Background Materials.pdf
Attachment: 
Ordinance for CPA0814.pdf

Resolution Z-14-12
Concerning ZOM-07-14: A request to rezone an approximate 8.5 acre parcel from R-2 (multi-family residential) district to residential PD (planned development) district, the Board heard the item and adopted Resolution Z-14-12 approving the request with the bases and conditions as noted in the staff report.
Attachment: Powerpoint for CPA0814 and ZOM0714.pdf
Attachment: 
Public Comments.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOM0714 Background Materials.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA0814 and ZOM0714 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: 
Resolution for ZOM0714.pdf

Gainesville Raceway
Concerning ZOM-06-14: A request to rezone approximately 452 acres (Gainesville Raceway) from ‘A’ (Agriculture) district to non-residential ‘PD’ (Planned Development) district, the Board heard the item and adopted Resolution Z-14-13 approving the requested zoning change with the bases and conditions as noted in the staff report. In adopting the request, the Board will also be revoking the special use permit (SUP) presently in place for this parcel.
Attachment: Resolution for ZOM0614.pdf
Attachment: 
NHRA PD Application Package.pdf
Attachment: 
Powerpoint for ZOM0614.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOM0614.pptx
Attachment: 
ZOM0614 Staff Report.pdf


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Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.