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.

December Featured Information

Holiday Closings:
December 25 and 26 - In observance of the holiday season, city offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Dec. 26. There will be a one day delay all week in curbside waste collection this week. RTS will have no service on Dec. 25.
January 1 - City offices will observe the new year Monday, Jan. 1. There will be a one day delay all week in curbside waste collection this week. RTS will run its holiday service Jan. 1 between 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on routes 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 20, 26, 35, 43, 75 and 711. Please visit www.Go-RTS.com for up-to-date route information.

Longest Table - Dec. 2: On Saturday, Dec. 2, from 2-4 p.m., join the conversation and your community at Gainesville's Second Annual Longest Table! The Longest Table is about engaging with your community - your neighbors, your peers and new friends - to build and strengthen relationships in our community. Registration is required (https://LongestTableGNV2017.eventbrite.com). Enjoy dinner at Depot Park and dialogue designed to strengthen relationships and unite our community as we all work together to enhance the quality of life in Gainesville and Alachua County. Each attendee is encouraged to bring at least one non-perishable food item to this event, which will be donated to Bread of the Mighty food bank.

City Commission Special Meetings/Workshops: At the time of this publication, the following special City Commission meeting has been scheduled:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m.: Special City Commission meeting in City Hall auditorium
  • Monday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.: Joint City/County Commission at Jack Durrance Auditorium

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. Once complete, the project will feature a roundabout at Southeast Seventh Street, decorative lighting, brick sidewalks, improved drainage and a reconstructed roadway surface. Construction will take place under local closures to expedite the schedule. The project is expected to be complete in spring 2018. For more information, please contact Stefan Broadus, project manager, at 352-393-8406 or broadusm@cityofgainesville.org.
SW Sixth Street Reconstruction (SW Fifth Ave. to W. University Ave.): The primary objective of this project is to reconstruct West Sixth Street between Southwest Fifth Avenue and University Avenue. Other components include reconstructing existing sidewalks in compliance with current width and side slope requirements, adding concrete curb and gutter in areas that currently have roadside drainage, landscaping improvements including low impact development techniques, a large stormwater pipe upgrade and a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Southwest Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue. The project was bid out in summer 2017 and Florida Safety Contractors, Inc. was determined to be the lowest responsible, responsive bidder as stipulated by the city’s competitive bidding process.  Construction is anticipated to begin in November of 2017, and complete in fall 2018. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8405 or waiteed@cityofgainesville.org.
Suburban Heights Beville Creek Restoration: This project consists of the stabilization and restoration of a heavily eroded segment of Beville Creek, which flows through the Suburban Heights neighborhood. The restoration includes the construction of a series of armored step pools and one cascade features known as regenerative stormwater conveyance features. Additional stabilization improvements include gabion baskets, Flexamat (a rolled erosion control blanket) and native seeding and planting. The proposed work limits begin south of Northwest 14th Avenue and continue south and east approximately 1,000 feet into Cofrin Nature Park.  Beville Creek provides wildlife with a connection from Cofrin Park to Kingwood Lake.  Construction began in early April, and the completion date has been extended to December due to the impacts of Hurricane Irma.  For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8405 or waiteed@cityofgainesville.org.

Citizen and Customer Satisfaction

Reduced Bus Service Dec. 16-31: RTS will have reduced bus service between Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 31. There will be no service on routes 19, 21, 27, 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 46, 62, 76, 77, Later Gator and UF campus routes. There will be reduced frequency on routes 9, 10, 12, 13, 20, 23, 33, 34, 35, 43 (last run at 7:09 p.m. from Santa Fe College to Shands). Reduced service is indicated on RTS route time schedules with an “R” in the far right column under each route direction column section. The “R” indicates buses that continue to run during reduced service days.

Winter Pool Hours: Winter pool hours started at Northeast Pool in November, and continue through March 2018. Complete pool hours are available on the Pools webpage.

Quality

Sweetwater Annual Passes Make Great Gifts: Give your family members and friends the present of amazing birdwatching and spectacular views! Sweetwater Wetlands Park is not only a place to connect with nature, it is also a way to protect our environment. Enjoy Sweetwater Wetlands Park all year with an annual pass. The annual pass costs $75, and is valid for one year from the date of purchase. Passes allow a vehicle to enter the park with any number of persons in the car. Passes are available for purchase in person at the PRCA Administrative Office, which is located on the third floor of the Thomas Center, Building B, (306 NE Sixth Ave.).

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.

Teamwork

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

Sustainability

Recycle Your Christmas Tree and Gift Wrap: Wrapping paper and gift boxes can be recycled in your curbside orange bin. Christmas trees can be placed at curbside for pick up on your regular trash day. The trees need to be stripped of all decorations, including ornaments, bows, tinsel and lights. If curbside service is not available to you, Christmas trees can be taken to Wood Resource Recycling at 10606 N SR 121 at no charge.

Recycle Your Holiday Lights: Holiday and other ornamental lights can be recycled at the Public Works Center, which is located at 405 NW 39th Ave. There is a green cart by the front door of the main lobby that is available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

Garbage Overflow Bags Available: Yellow bags for holiday garbage overflow can be purchased at any Publix. Ask for the yellow bags at the service counter.

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

Celebrate the Season with the Thomas Center Holiday Tree Lighting - Dec. 2: It’s time to make merry at the annual holiday tree lighting at the Historic Thomas Center. The free program is 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 and features caroling by the Singers of the Reformation and the Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus, as well as holiday music on the hammered dulcimer and autoharp by Jim and Joyce Lillquist of the Gypsy Guerrilla Band. The heart of the celebration is the holiday decorations on the giant tree and around the building, which are annually provided by the Thomas Center Associates. Santa will be on hand to visit with the children, and light refreshments will be served.

Free Urban Forestry Workshop Dec. 6: The Urban Forestry workshop takes place Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center (302 NE Sixth Ave.). The program is free and aims to inform residents and professionals about the urban forest in our community. This workshop offers information on Gainesville’s urban forest, mature trees, tree canopy, diversity of trees and tree diseases, especially in palms. Attendees of this workshop may receive up to four Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits, depending on certification. Seats are limited to this workshop, so be sure to reserve your place today! For more information on the speakers and their topics, please visit our Facebook event. This workshop is made possible by the City of Gainesville, the City Beautification Board and the Department of Doing-Planning Division. Please RSVP so your attendance can be planned for: Earline Luhrman at 352-393-8181 or luhrmanek@cityofgainesville.org.

Jewel Box Concert Series Continues: The Jewel Box Concerts are a series of multi-genre musical events which feature a spectrum of national and international touring artists from folk to classical and from jazz to bluegrass. The Thomas Center is located at 302 NE Sixth Ave. in Gainesville. The Jewel Box Concerts at the Thomas Center are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Tickets available for purchase at online. The ticket office for the Jewel Box Concerts is 904-886-8378. All shows start at 7 p.m., and doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20-$30 (general admission and VIP tickets available).
-- The Curry's Christmas Show: Tuesday, Dec. 19
-- Rodney Dillard and the Walker Brothers: Thursday, Jan. 4
-- Kenny and Amanda Smith: Thursday, Feb. 8

Winter Break Camp: A cheerful time awaits those days kids are out of school - and it’s a convenient option for busy parents! Let's work together to give your child a foundation for success! During camp kids will enjoy games, activities and crafts that encourage achievement, a sense of community, good health and strong character! Winter Break Camp is available 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on the following days: Wednesday, Dec. 20-Friday, Dec. 22 and Wednesday, Dec. 27-Friday Dec. 29. Fees are $52.50 for city residents and $78.50 for non-city residents. Please note, meals are not provided. Camps are located at Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.) and Eastside Community Center (2841 E. University Ave.). For information on our camps, please call 352-334-5067 or visit the PRCA website.

Downtown Countdown Dec. 31: Every New Year’s Eve, downtown Gainesville rocks as the New Year is rung in with live music provided by the area’s most popular bands. Local ska/reggae band The Duppies opens the concert at 9 p.m. The Downtown Countdown begins at 9 p.m. and this year’s headliner is The Savants of Soul, who will play a mix of blues, soul, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, punk and ska. A countdown to the New Year at midnight is celebrated with free noisemakers and merry making all-around. This year's event returns to the Bo Diddley Plaza, located at 111 E. University Ave. in downtown Gainesville.

Great Invader Raider Rally Registration: Be a part of this annual tradition to remove invasive plant species from our natural areas! Registration opens Dec. 1, and you can sign up online on the Gainesville Greenway Challenge page. The Great Invader Raider Rally will take place Saturday, Jan. 27. Under trained leadership, volunteers will work to restore preassigned natural areas from 9-11 a.m. and then are invited to head to Morningside Nature Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for a celebration which includes music, t-shirts, prizes, environmental booths and games and food ($). You can also visit the Gainesville Greenway Challenge page to find out how you can help our natural areas year-round!

Register Now for Out of School Days: Need a place for your kids to go on teacher work days or school holidays? Out of School Days camp hours are from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Fees are $5.75 per day/per child for city residents (proof of residency required) and $8.75 per day/per child for non-city residents. Lunch is not provided. You may register online or at the PRCA Administrative Office, which is located on the third floor of the Historic Thomas Center, Bldg. B, 306 NE Sixth Ave. Please call 352-334-5067 with any questions. The Recreation Division offers full day camps at Eastside Recreation Center and Albert "Ray" Massey Recreation Center for 1st-5th graders on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 2
  • Monday, April 2

Sign Up for Foundations Academy and Lay the Groundwork for Success: Join us for another great year of after-school fun and learning! Foundations Academy takes place through Friday, June 1. Activities play a vital role in the development and well-being of younger Gainesville residents. We are pleased to offer this fun-filled, educational program for your kids in 1st-8th grade. We have 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. Participants get involved in various life-long recreational and educational activities, such as tutoring, tennis, art/crafts, basketball, board games, bowling, volunteerism, citizenship and more. Foundations Academy is available at the four following locations: Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.), Clarence R. Kelly Community Center (1701 NE Eighth Ave.), Eastside Community Center (2841 E. University Ave.) and Porters Community Center (512 SW Second Ave.). Complete information is available on the When School is In 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 Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, 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 Dec. 1, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, March 2, April 6 and May 4.

Art Exhibitions at the Historic Thomas Center Galleries: --Cross Creek Rising | The Consciousness of Land & Water features tributes to the wilderness, land, and water that inspired the artistic voice of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. This is an exhibition of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography as its source of inspiration the natural environs of north central Florida. The exhibition is in both the Main and Mezzanine Galleries and continues through Saturday, Jan. 6.

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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