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

City of Gainesville Elections March 19, Early Voting Begins March 9: City of Gainesville elections will be held Tuesday, March 19. Registered voters citywide will elect the mayor, registered voters in district four will elect a commissioner to represent its district and voters will vote on a charter referendum. Early voting is available Saturday, March 9-Saturday, March 16 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., except Tuesday and Thursday, which will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Early voting has five designated sites: the Supervisor of Elections Office (515 N. Main St.), the Reitz Union (655 Reitz Union Dr., room G-50), the Senior Recreation Center (5701 NW 34th St.), the MLK Center (1028 NE 14th St.) 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

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 2019 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 13 and continue for seven weeks through April 24. 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

Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery:  Daylight saving time (DST) will officially begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10, 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.

Wild Spaces, Public Places (WSPP) Project Updates:
Duval Park Boardwalk Replacement: This WSPP project consists of the replacement of 959 linear feet of boardwalks in Duval Park.  The boardwalks at Duval Park have been closed to the public since Hurricane Irma.  Fallen trees coupled with severe wood rot created a safety hazard that was beyond the capacity of staff to repair.  Work is anticipated to begin on site in March and complete by fall 2019. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8187 or
Fred Cone Park Improvements: Shade sails will be installed over the bleachers near the Fred Cone Park track this spring. These shade structures will improve viewer comfort during events at the park. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or
Ironwood Golf Course Improvements: Lighting will be installed at the Ironwood Golf Course driving range. Musco sports lighting will allow golf course patrons to utilize the driving range for extended hours during the winter months. This project is anticipated to complete by the end of April. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8187 or
Lincoln Park Improvements: New fencing was installed at the baseball field in February, and work is underway on the new bleacher pads, dugout pads and sidewalk improvements.  A new water cooler was installed on the restroom building that will provide chilled water, as well as a bottle filler. For more information, please contact John Weber, project manager, at 352-393-8186 or
Reserve Park:  
The new Reserve Park will honor service members from all branches of the military and their families by providing a military-themed recreational space. The park was formerly the home of the local U.S. Army Reserve. Park features will include modern playground equipment, a boot camp-themed obstacle course with 13 fitness stations, a pavilion, benches, picnic tables, grills, a walking path, open green space, landscaping and a fenced community garden. Since 2012, public meetings, workshops, online surveys and social media have been part of the planning process to garner public sentiment into the design of the park and the amenities which would best fit the surrounding neighborhood. Work is anticipated to begin in March and completed in fall 2019. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8187 or


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 or by calling 352-393-8437.

  • Ranger Tours are held the first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. and the second Sunday at 2 p.m.
  • Alachua Audubon Society's "Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands" are held every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. (Sept.-May). Discover the rich diversity of birds (and maybe some rarities!) at north central Florida’s birding hotspot on a 2-3-hour walking tour. Birders of all levels are welcome. Bring binoculars. Birding field trips are led by volunteers from Alachua Audubon Society.


Register for the 2019 GAP Charity Golf Scramble: Get on the links with the third annual Charity Golf Scramble to benefit Gainesville’s youth Friday, March 8 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. Player registration is $75 for an individual and $275 for a foursome. Registration fees include greens fee, cart fee, range balls, golfer lunch and the awards dinner following the tournament. For more information about the GAP Foundation or to register for the Golf Scramble, visit  or contact tournament co-chair former Commissioner Craig Carter (352-339-4038 or or co-chair Commissioner Gigi Simmons (352-792-3958 or All proceeds from the scramble go to youth summer camp scholarships. The 2016 and 2017 proceeds from the Golf Tournament allowed Gainesville youth to receive 748 weeks of free summer camp scholarships!

Gainesville Greenway Challenge Volunteer Workday on March 2: 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 2. Pre-registration is required; you may fill out the form online. For more information, email or call 352-393-8428.

Giveback Thursdays: Take advantage of the warmer 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 For more information, email or call 352-393-8428. Check out the Challenge on Instagram @gnvgreenwaychallenge!


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

ACTFOR Youth Flag Football Registration Open Through March 22: ACTFOR is a fun flag football league for all skill levels, designed to educate participants about football, while emphasizing participation and sportsmanship. There are no tryouts, and practices and games are during the week between 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Fred Cone Park (2801 E. University Ave.). Practices begin the week of March 4. A parent meeting will be held at the MLK center Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. Fees are $95 for city residents and $142.50 for non-city residents. Register in person at the Thomas Center, 3rd floor, 306 NE Sixth Ave., Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Click here for registration and scholarship information.

Jest Fest! - March 31: “The Greatest Show in Gainesville” features The World Famous Flying Wallendas and other circus and comedy stars performing live on five stages at the Historic Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville. Hilarity, hijinks and feats of derring-do thrill and amaze the entire family at this free event. The legendary Flying Wallendas star with their famous daredevil high-wire act, along with a revolving cast of circus stars, clowns, puppets, musicians and our fabulous food court! This year’s Jest Fest! Is Sunday, March 31 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center and Gardens. Come be a part of the fun! Look for the line-up at

Register for Spring Swim Lessons: Registration for swim lessons began March 1. Spring swim lessons are at the Northeast Pool on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Session 1 begins April 15 and session 2 begins May 6. Complete schedules and registration information are available here.

CPR and Lifeguard Classes Available March-May: Registration is open for lifeguard and CPR classes. There are five lifeguard classes to choose from between March and May and one CPR class per month available to the community and staff. Complete schedules are available here.

Depot Park Parkrun 5K on Saturdays: Depot Park Parkrun is a free, weekly 5k for people of all abilities (whether you walk, jog, run or volunteer). We invite you to join us and experience the parkrun community for yourself. Register one time at and bring the printed barcode with you to any of the thousands of parkrun events worldwide.

Plan for Spring Break Camps (April 1-5): Plan ahead for spring break (April 1-5) 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!
Creative Expressions Art Camp at Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.): Campers will work on a variety of art projects throughout the week. 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
Ages: 1st-8th grade

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. .
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $52.50, Non-City Residents: $78.50
Ages: 1st-8th grade

Earth Academy Day Camp at Morningside Nature Center (3450 E. University Ave.):
Let's kick off Earth Day celebrations with this BioCon themed camp!
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: City Residents: $127.50, Non-City Residents: $191.75
Ages: 1st-6th grade

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! The farm is open to the public from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, all year long, except holidays.
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 2, April 6 and May 4. 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 1, April 5 and May 3.

Depot Park Activities for Everyone: There’s something for everyone at Depot Park! The first Saturday of each month features a free family drum circle two hours before sunset. Kids can start their Sunday mornings with kids’ yoga ($5/child) or go on a free family-friendly bike ride the third Saturday of each month. For a full lineup of events, visit or follow us on

Bo Diddley Plaza Activities: Head to Bo Diddley Plaza to decompress after work, listen to great music or find an amazing variety of seasonal produce! There’s Yoga on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. and the Union Street Farmers Market on Wednesdays (4-7 p.m.). There are also many community events taking place at the plaza. Check out a full listing of events at or

Art and Cultural Exhibitions:
-intimate states | works on paper by Eduardo Sarmiento at the Thomas Center Galleries: The exhibition continues through May 4, 2019. Curated by Anne E. Gilroy, iNTIMATE STATES brings this contemporary artist’s work to Gainesville for the first time. In over two dozen powerful drawings, Sarmiento allows us to witness his potent connections to family and friends. Neither idealized nor forgiving, the portraits deliver tenderness without sentimentality. Wry self-portraits function as a glimpse into both the artist’s character and his self-awareness as the observer. Sarmiento unabashedly offers himself up to the viewer in this raw visual consideration of intimate relationships. iNTIMATE STATES, will be held in concert with Bulla Cubana. Bulla Cubana is a citywide celebration of arts and culture, promoting the exchange of ideas and inspiration between Cuba and the north central Florida region.
-Blueprints at the Rosa B Williams Center/352Artspace: Brett Taylor, an emerging Florida artist, is presenting his premier solo exhibition, Blueprints, this winter. The exhibit showcases recent works on paper juxtaposing the body, manufactured structures and identity. The exhibition continues through April 26.
-Sundays at AQJ Coffee & Conversation: Join us for Sundays at AQJ Coffee & Conversation Sunday, March 10 from 3-5 p.m. at the A Quinn Jones School Auditorium. The Actor’s Warehouse is presenting two plays, “The Colored Door at the Train Depot” and “Pipeline,” as social and cultural criticism of racism in America that explore race, gender, education, patriotism and economic disparity.  Sundays at the AQJ will include an abbreviated preview of the play “Pipeline,” followed by a panel discussion with Steven H. Butler, Diedre Houchen, PhD., Michael Bowie, Anne Wolf and Desmon N. A Walker. “Pipeline” runs from March 15-31 at the Actor’s Warehouse.

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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