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
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 2018 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 14 and continue for seven weeks through April 25. 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 20, Early Voting Begins March 10: City of Gainesville elections will be held Tuesday, March 20. Registered voters citywide will elect the at-large (seat 1) commissioner, and registered voters in district one will elect a commissioner to represent its district. Early voting is available Monday, March 10-Saturday, March 17 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 11, 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, 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 (SE 7th Avenue) between Southeast Sixth Street and Southeast Williston Road. Progress to date includes the replacement of the stormwater culverts at Sweetwater Branch Tributary, the partial completion of the new stormwater conveyance system, upgraded streetlights, asphalt paving, decorative brick sidewalks and curb and gutter for the new roadway. Construction will take place under local closures to expedite the schedule. The project is about 80 percent complete, and is on schedule to be complete in spring 2018. For more information, please contact Stefan Broadus, project manager, at 352-393-8406 or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Spaces, Public Places Project Updates:
Fred Cone Park Improvements: This Wild Spaces Public Places project consists of multiple improvements to the park to include resurfacing the track, installing shade structures and adding a sidewalk near the bleachers. The installation of shade structures over the playground equipment, a Ga-Ga pit and the construction of an additional sidewalk between the track and bleachers (to prevent sand from getting on the track) were completed in February. Further improvements are in the planning stage. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or email@example.com.
Shade Structures: This Wild Spaces Public Places project consists of installing shade structures over playground equipment and other park amenities at nine parks. The final installation of a shade structure at T.B. McPherson Park’s tennis courts will be completed this month. Installations of shade structures took place at Roper Park, Rosa B. Williams, Cofrin Nature Park, MLK Center, Cedar Grove Park, Fred Cone Park, Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool deck, Porters Community Center and T.B. McPherson Park. This project, in conjunction with the sunscreen dispenser installation throughout city parks, encourages safe play and provides comfort for all users. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Albert Ray Massey Westside Park Improvements: This Wild Spaces Public Places project consists of multiple improvements to athletic fields that are more than 40 years old. One improvement that is currently underway is the installation of netting between baseball fields one and two and the concessions area. This will improve safety for users, and is expected to be complete by June. Further field improvements are in the planning stage. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or email@example.com.
Lincoln Park Improvements: This Wild Spaces Public Places project consists of multiple improvements to the park. One of the first improvements is bringing in additional material and regrading the baseball field to improve drainage. This work will be completed by city staff by the end of June. Surveying of the field has been completed and the design is underway. For more information, please contact Nat Davis, project manager, at 352-393-8179 or DavisNR@cityofgainesville.org.
Citizen and Customer Satisfaction
Reduced Bus Service March 3 -11:
Bus service will be reduced during the collegiate spring break, March 3- March 11. Some routes will not run and others will run on a reduced frequency schedule. Reduced service will begin Saturday, March 3 and last through Sunday, March 11. There will be no service on routes 19, 21, 27, 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 46, 62, 76, 77, as well as UF campus and Later Gator routes. Reduced frequency routes are 9, 10, 12, 13, 20, 23, 33, 34, 35 and 43. Route running times are marked with an “R” in the printed and online versions of the RTS schedule. Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 15, 16, 17, 24, 25, 26, 43, 75 and 711 will run as normal. Paratransit service will also run as normal. Visit www.Go-RTS.com for schedule information.
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 http://zagster.com/gainesville/.
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: Winter pool hours at Northeast Pool continue through March 22, 2018; spring hours begin March 23. Mickle and Westside Pools remain closed, but will reopen within the next few months. 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 www.sweetwaterwetlands.org 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.
RTS Job Fair - March 6: RTS is holding a job fair for those interested in a position with RTS. Interviews and conditional job offers will be extended onsite. The job fair is being held at Career Source, which is located at 10 NW Sixth St., Tuesday, March 6 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Amazing Give Benefits GAP Foundation on March 21-22: This year, the Gainesville Arts and Parks Foundation is participating in the Amazing Give to raise scholarship funds for youth summer camps. This year’s Amazing Give is from March 21 at 6 p.m.-March 22 at 6 p.m., and will raise money for local nonprofits through a single online donation platform, providing a simple way to connect donors to the charitable causes they care about most and encourage them to take action. This 24-hour online fundraising effort hosted by the Community Foundation of North Central Florida with the help of sponsors, offers area nonprofits the chance to raise funds to support their critical missions. To find out more about supporting the youth benefiting from the fundraiser and helping them experience the fun memories of summer camp, please visit the GAP Foundation’s Amazing Give Page.
Gainesville Greenway Challenge Volunteer Workday on March 3: 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, March. 3. Pre-registration is required; you may fill out the form online. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.facebook.com/gnvgreenwaychallenge. For more information, email email@example.com 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.
Spring 2018 Old Florida Seed and Story Swap - March 3: Join us at Morningside Nature Center’s Living History Farm for the Spring 2018 Old Florida Seed and Story Swap Saturday, March 3 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., presented by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in partnership with Working Food. Help us preserve our precious agricultural heritage, and diversify your own garden by bringing your seeds to swap with others in our gardening community. Please, no live plants, seeds older than five years or seeds from invasive exotics. No seeds to swap? Come on down anyway and meet fellow gardeners, while enjoying Morningside’s historic farm. When you’re done swapping, stay and share your own seed, garden and farm stories and listen to others tell their favorite tales. Interpreters will demonstrate life on an 1870 Florida farm, when the rooster’s crow and the rising sun, not an alarm clock, welcomed a new day. Step back in time and experience Florida as it was!
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. Here are some of the notable activities children will participate in this month:
- Friday, March 2, 3–4 p.m.: All after-school program sites are celebrating National Read Across America Day, in honor of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday.
- Friday, March 23: Albert “Ray” Massey Center will have graduate students from the University of Florida speak to the children about different career choices.
- Tuesdays through May 22 from 3–4:30 p.m.: The “Gardening Program” is available at the Clarence R. Kelly Center, through a partnership with the Greater Duval Neighborhood Association and Working Food. Children are taught how to garden, participate in fun crafts, plus they get to sample the vegetables they grow as a part of their afternoon snack.
To sign up your child for a great after-school experience, full information is available on the Foundations webpage.
20th Annual Bus Roadeo - March 10: RTS invites you to enjoy a day of top-notch talent at its 20th annual RTS Bus Roadeo. The event will be held Saturday, March 10 starting at 11 a.m. at the Corrine Brown Transit Facility (34 SE 13th Rd.). Join RTS as its best operators exhibit their skills on the Bus Roadeo obstacle course, are judged on their professional appearance and knowledge of the vehicles they drive. The RTS Bus Roadeo is modeled after the American Public Transportation Association’s International Bus Roadeo, which is designed to test and showcase the skills of transit operators and mechanics across North America. The winners at the RTS Bus Roadeo will go on to represent RTS at the State Roadeo.
Jazz Concert Fundraiser Benefits GAP Foundation - March 18: The Gainesville Woman's Club (GWC) is hosting a special concert featuring the University of Florida Jazz Band with trumpeter Scott Wilson Sunday, March 18 at 4 p.m. at the Gainesville Woman’s Club, located at 2809 W. University Ave. This event is a GWC signature project, which will benefit the community and the Gainesville Arts and Parks (GAP) Foundation, Inc. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the GAP Foundation for future park improvements at the Northeast 31st Avenue Park. The park is in need of substantial upgrades to its playground and tennis and basketball courts, as well as new features such as picnic pavilions and walking paths. Research shows that children benefit greatly from outdoor play and being in nature. Parks give children the opportunity to appreciate and interact with the natural world around them and to play outside. Concert tickets are $35. Information about the performance and purchasing tickets is available online at gfwcfl-gainesvillewomansclub.org. For more information or to order tickets, please contact the Gainesville Woman’s Club at 352-376-3901 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
Plan for Spring Break Camps (March 26-30): Plan ahead for spring break (March 26-30) and check out the 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 awakens your child's innate curiosity while encouraging an environmental ethic and appreciation of the natural world! This nature-based day camp is held at Morningside Nature Center's 416-acre nature sanctuary and uses hands on fun to focus attention on natural and cultural history.
Location: Morningside Nature Center, 3540 E University Ave.
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $127.50, Non-City Residents: $191.75
Creative Expressions Camp at Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.): Campers will work on a variety of art projects throughout the week. During Finale Friday, families are invited to walk through the museum where their work will be displayed. Campers will be kept busy while having fun with hands-on activities!
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $52.50, Non-City Residents: $78.50
SCORE! Sports Galore Camp at Eastside Community Center (2841 E. University Ave.): It's all about teams this week. Campers come up with a team name, mascot, colors, cheer or chant. On finale Friday, everyone joins together for a variety of sports challenges, games and a cookout.
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $52.50, Non-City Residents: $78.50
Biddy Ball (Basketball and Flag Football) - New!: At Biddy Ball, parents and children work together to learn the basic motor skills needed to successfully move on to more organized sports. Biddy Ball 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. The program schedule is as follows:
Sessions: Basketball: April 3–26,
Flag Football: May 1–24
Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.
Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.
Fee per session: City residents: $30;
Non-city resident: $45 per session.
Proof of residency, such as a utility bill or voter identification card, is required for city residents at time of registration. Scholarships are available. All information is available on our Biddy Ball 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 March 3, 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 March 2, April 6 and May 4.
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.
-Alachua County Public Schools Visual Arts Program Showcase is in the Doris Bardon Gallery through Saturday, March 3. This exhibit showcases the work of local students through a partnership with the Alachua County Public Schools Visual Arts Program.
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!