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 24 and 25 - In observance of the holiday season, city offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 25. Residential curbside collection of garbage, recycling and yard trash will not be picked up Tuesday, and will be delayed one day for the rest of the week. RTS will run its holiday service Dec. 24 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, and will not have service on Dec. 25. Please visit for up-to-date route information.
January 1 - City offices will observe the new year Tuesday, Jan. 1. Residential curbside collection of garbage, recycling and yard trash will not be picked up Tuesday, and will be delayed one day for the rest of the 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 for up-to-date route information.

Save the Date for the Longest Table - Jan. 26: On Saturday, Jan. 26, join the conversation and your community at Gainesville's 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. Pre-registration is required ( 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. We will be featuring the movie "Paddington 2" in the park at 6 p.m., so enjoy the movie and make a day of it!

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 January. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8187 or
Depot Park Improvements:  This WSPP project consists of the addition of a trail connection between the old RTS parking lot and the trail on the east side of Depot Park. This connection will make it more convenient for park guests to use the overflow parking area. The project is currently going through permitting, and construction is anticipated to begin in December. For more information, please contact Betsy Waite, project manager, at 352-393-8187 or


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 $78, 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.).

Westside Pool Now Open Year Round: Effective Oct. 27, the Westside Pool is open year round! Come and check out Gainesville's newest heated pool! Winter hours are:
- Monday-Friday: 6-9 a.m. (lap swim - until Dec. 21 or when temps require the pool to be blanketed)
- Monday-Friday: 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (open swim)
- Saturday: 12-5 p.m. (open swim)
- Sunday: closed

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.


Great Invader Raider Rally Registration Opens Dec. 1: Be a part of this annual tradition to remove invasive plant species from our natural areas! Online registration opens Dec. 1. This year the Great Invader Raider Rally will take place Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. 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.

Gainesville Greenway Challenge Volunteer Workday on Dec. 1: 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. 1. 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!


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 of the Publix Super Markets.  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. 1: 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. 1 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. A highlight of the occasion is the luminaries put out annually by the Duckpond Neighborhood Association at the Thomas Center and throughout the adjoining neighborhood. Outside the Thomas Center, the Duckpond Neighborhood Association will offer carriage rides around the neighborhood that is lit with luminaries for the occasion. The suggested donation for the carriage rides is $5 per rider. Santa will be on hand to visit with the children, and light refreshments will be served.

Downtown Festival & Art Show Weekend Information (Dec. 1-2): North Florida’s art scene swings into high gear on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with the arrival of the highly acclaimed Downtown Festival & Art Show. The streets of historic downtown Gainesville, from City Hall to the Hippodrome Theatre will be transformed into a celebration of art and creativity complete with live music, performing arts and a spectacular array of food. More than 100,000 art lovers will fill the streets to enjoy and purchase one-of-a-kind artwork. The festival features 240 local and national artists displaying original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, unique sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. Children can create their own art at the Imagination Station, a free hands-on art activity. For music lovers: enjoy continuous, live entertainment on four stages by local bands and solo musicians. Dance companies also catch the eyes of the crowd with ballet, jazz, modern and international dance performances. The festival weekend kicks off with a free Downtown Blues Concert Friday, Nov. 30 from 7-11 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza, featuring three incredible blues performances. . The concert features three incredible blues performances by talented artists “Sweet William” Billy Ellis, Sheba the Mississippi Queen and the Bluesmen, and headliner Lauren Mitchell. “Sweet William” Billy Ellis opens the evening with his broad range of ballads, blues, country and island flavors. Next, Sheba the Mississippi Queen and the Bluesmen will captivate the audience with their original music that blends blues, jazz, R&B and soul.  Headliner Lauren Mitchell closes out the evening.  Her soulful voice and brilliant interpretations are sure to provide the audience a heartwarming performance they will never forget.
Entertainment Schedule
Festival Map
2018 Artist Listing

Fall 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.
-- The Currys' Christmas Show: Wednesday, Dec. 19: By popular demand, The Currys are returning for the annual holiday show! This is a special show that always sells out, and concert-goers always have a great time! Seating is limited, but tickets may be purchased in advance online at Don't wait to buy tickets for this special show. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7 p.m. To listen to a sampling of their music, visit or  

Celebrate New Year's Eve Downtown with Fireworks and Live Music: Come out and celebrate New Year’s Eve downtown! We’ve expanded your downtown New Year’s Eve experience with a grand celebration in various locations. All are free and open to the public, so there is something for everyone this year!  Sparks in the Park begins at Depot Park at 5 p.m., with the musically-choreographed fireworks show beginning at 6:30 p.m. After, follow a path of glowing rainbow lights throughout downtown to enjoy dinner, drinks and other festivities. At 9 p.m. in Bo Diddley Plaza, the Downtown Countdown begins, and continues until the clock strikes 12! The Downtown Countdown features two bands and a countdown to midnight to ring in 2019 with the sounds of noisemakers provided free to the audience. Headlining this experience are The Impostors (The Beatles tribute band) and The Shakedown (contemporary blues). Revelers are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for seating.

Winter Break Camp Available: A jolly time awaits those days kids are out of school, and it’s a convenient option for busy parents! 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 on Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-4 from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Camps are located at Albert “Ray” Massey Recreation Center (1001 NW 34th St.) and Eastside Community Center (2841 E. University Ave.). For more information, please call 352-334-5067 or visit the PRCA website.

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.

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 $6 per day/per child for city residents (proof of residency required) and $9.25 per day/per child for non-city residents. Lunch is not provided. For more information, please visit the When School is Out webpage.  During the day camp kids will enjoy games, activities and crafts that encourage achievement, a sense of community, good health and strong character! Full day camps at Eastside Recreation Center and Albert "Ray" Massey Recreation Center for 1st-8th graders on the following dates:

  • Monday, Feb. 18

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 Dec. 1, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, 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 Dec. 7, Jan. 4, Feb. 1, March 1, April 5 and May 3.

Events on the Promenade at Depot Park: Come out for Events on the Promenade with fun activities all month long. December highlights include weekly 5Ks (free!), kids' yoga, dancing, fireworks and more! For a full lineup of events, visit and 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:
-RockPaperScissors | Playing with Material Change at the Thomas Center Galleries: RockPaperScissors | Playing with Material Change is what happens when artists are inspired by the very materials they hold, stitch, carve, fold, print, cut, weave or shape. Each piece in the RockPaperScissors exhibit telegraphs a bit of creative obsession with tactile satisfaction -  from the way pigment integrates with the fiber of cotton rag paper, to the touch of silk threads intertwining, to the cold smooth feel of alabaster as it is endlessly polished by the artist’s hand. Materiality itself acts as muse in RockPaperScissors, giving viewers a glimpse into how artists both command and yield to their materials in the creative process. The exhibition continues through Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.
-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 is from Friday, Dec. 7 and continues through April 26. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 from 7-9 p.m. during Artwalk.
-Black Educators Exhibition at the A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center: The “Black Educators: Florida’s Secret Social Justice Advocates 1920-1960” exhibition continues. Despite the perception of dilapidated schoolhouses and underprepared teachers, in reality, Florida’s black educators not only had a distinct pedagogy, highly organized system and a vibrant school culture, they were early pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement in the later Jim Crow period (1920–1960), carrying out social justice organizing and winning Civil Rights victories.  This exhibition shatters the perceptions and explores the realities of black schooling during Jim Crow in Florida. In collaboration with Dr. Deidre Houchen and the University of Florida, this exhibition features multiple exhibits at three locations - A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center, Smathers Library Gallery (UF), and Lawton Chile’s Legal Information Center (UF). A reception, Lincoln High School: A Metaphor for Excellence, will be held Friday, Dec. 7 from 7-9 p.m. during Artwalk.

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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