Latest News from the City of Gainesville

On Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m., thousands of children and adults are invited to unite at aquatics facilities around the world to set a new global record for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL). The City of Gainesville is proud to be one of the nation’s top water safety and training organizations that joins forces with worldwide participants in order to foster education on the vital importance of swimming lessons that aid drowning prevention. The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) is joining Team WLSL to once again break a world record and send the message that swimming lessons save lives. The global record attempt takes place at three Gainesville locations: Andrew R. Mickle Pool, Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool and H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool.

Team WLSL and the City of Gainesville aim to surpass last year’s participant numbers and set an eighth Guinness World Record in this category. The current Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson stands at approximately 41,000  participants representing 27 different countries. Last year, Gainesville’s pools had 438 participants.

“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 Interim Recreation Manager John Weber. “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 age one-five years old, 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 one to four, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

To participate in this event and be part of history, please arrive at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the swimming lesson, at one of the three Gainesville host location facilities: Mickle Pool, 1717 SE 15th St.; Northeast Pool, 1100 NE 14th St.; or Westside Pool, 1001 NW 31st Dr. Registering for the WLSL allows you to enjoy the pool for the day!

If you are unable to attend the event, PRCA offers swimming lessons at all three pools during the summer. For more information please visit,AquaticsFitness/Aquatics/SwimLessons.aspx.

To learn more about this event, visit or call 352-334-5067.

The band Fast Lane features funk, soul and R&B at its “Free Fridays” concert, held Friday, June 22 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza.

The “Free Fridays” Concert Series, as part of its celebration of June as African-American Music Appreciation Month,  presents The Shakedown Friday, June  15 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza.
The Shakedown is a five-piece, Gainesville-based band specializing in contemporary blues with a rock and classic soul edge. The band is comprised of stage veterans well-seasoned in a variety of musical genres, but who have a special affinity for the unique expression of heart and grit that blues music offers. The band has some of its greatest influences from blues greats such as Albert King and Koko Taylor to the newer stylings of artists like Walter Trout, Susan Tedeschi, Eric Clapton and Danielle Nicole.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is pleased to announce that the Gainesville Arts & Parks Foundation received a $10,000 donation for the Northeast 31st Avenue Park improvements from the GFWC Gainesville Woman’s Club. The improvement project for the park recently received approval for Wild Spaces and Public Places funding as well.

Posted by: Rawson, Laura

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) needs  volunteer coaches for Pop Warner Football and Cheer. Pop Warner is more than a game; it promotes academic success and accountability in its participants. Coaches help to foster values such as fairness, caring, citizenship, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness in our youth.

First aid/CPR and specific cheer/football certifications are required to coach. PRCA will train and pay for certifications. Volunteers will need to pass a background check and must be able to follow guidelines of Pop Warner.

Coaches are required to attend a mandatory meeting held by the Putnam Athletic League, held Saturday, July 21. Practices start the first week of August, with games and practices running through October. Additional games may be played for league and regional championships. Cheer also participates in league and regional competitions, with the possibility of playing at the national championship on Saturday, Dec 8. Some travel will be required.

Those interested in coaching may contact Guillermo Chacon, recreation leader for sports, at 352-393-8527 or

Posted by: Rawson, Laura

Participants will be able to provide additional feedback and comments on designs for the park. The designs were developed from the results of community focus groups and a survey conducted in May 2018. Free hot dogs and shaved ice will be available for guests.

In November 2016, Alachua County voters approved Wild Spaces and Public Places, a one-half percent sales tax to be collected in the county from Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2024, to acquire and improve environmentally-sensitive lands and to create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities. Improvements to the Northeast 31st Avenue Park is a Wild Spaces and Public Places project.

For questions about improvements to the park, please contact Betsy Waite, director of Wild Spaces and Public Places for the City of Gainesville, at 352-393-8187 or
Posted by: Rawson, Laura

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department has joined forces with Hoggtowne Music to host the Make Music Day Gainesville celebration at Depot Park (200 SE Depot Ave.) Thursday, June 21 from 5-10 p.m. Gainesville will join more than 800 cities in 120 countries for this event. Unlike a typical music festival, Make Music Day is a worldwide celebration promoting the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of ability.

Make Music Day Gainesville will host a large variety of instrumental jam sessions and bands throughout Depot Park.  In addition to multiple stage areas, there will be drum circles, ukulele circles and microphones to give individuals and groups an opportunity to make music in Depot Park. The event is an excellent chance for anyone to explore their musical capability, from the teenager wishing to pick up a guitar to the retiree who loves the tumba drums.

“This type of musical celebration is exactly what we need to do to connect the community to each other and to music. What could be better than a free, open to the public, musical event?” says Joe Dorsey, owner of Hoggtowne Music.

Music has been shown to strengthen social connectivity, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, stimulate memory and is integral to a well-rounded, enjoyable life. Make Music Day Gainesville encourages every form of music making.

For more information on the event, or to participate as a musician in Make Music Day Gainesville, please contact Joe Dorsey of Hoggtowne Music at

Posted by: Rawson, Laura

The “Free Fridays” Concert Series, as part of its celebration of June as African-American Music Appreciation Month,  presents 21 Blue with Longineu Parsons and Ted Shumate Friday, June  8 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza. The public is invited to bring their blankets and lawn chairs to our beautiful downtown amphitheater, and enjoy this free world-class blues concert that will take you from Louis Armstrong to Howlin’ Wolf to Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix and beyond.

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.
Posted by: Rawson, Laura

The City of Gainesville is holding two workshops on its zero waste initiative in June. The Zero Waste Workshops are for local businesses and interested residents to discuss the zero waste initiative and its potential impacts on Gainesville with the City Commission and city staff. The workshops are:

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