A 5-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce
February 2, 2020
Tuesday, February 16: Business Before Hours Virtual Networking
Tuesday, February 16, 8:30 - 10 a.m.
Join us for our Business Before Hours Virtual Networking Event on Tuesday, February 16th from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
This is a virtual edition of Business Before Hours and is structured the same way as our past in-person events. Attendees will have opportunities to share in small groups who they are, what they do, and who would make a good customer or referral for them. Come build lasting business and personal relationships at Business Before Hours.
Attendance is limited to 50 pre-registered attendees.
Reminder: Register to Vote for Gainesville City Election
The deadline to register is February 16th
As you know, one key step to ensuring the business voice is heard is to become informed on the issues that matter to our community and to vote. The City of Gainesville Regular Election will be Tuesday, March 16 and the deadline to register to vote in this election is Tuesday, February 16.
City Commission seats for District 1 and At Large will be on the ballot. To register to vote in this election, visit the Supervisor of Elections website, www.votealachua.com.
We encourage our members to register and be informed. Watch for Candidate Interviews for this election—coming soon!
The Education Foundation offering over $200,000 in college scholarships
Deadline to apply: February 16

The Senior Scholarships program is open to high school seniors in the Alachua County Public Schools system. Students must complete one application to be considered for the more than 50 scholarships which they may be eligible.

Scholarships range from $1,000 to $60,000 for eligible seniors who meet the scholarships’ criteria, and last year, The Education Foundation awarded about $750,000 in scholarships including Senior and Take Stock in Children scholarships. 

The deadline to apply for Senior Scholarships is February 16. For a full list of scholarships and to apply, visit https://edfoundationac.org/scholarships/#seniorscholarship.
Dave & Buster's Opens for Good Clean Fun at the Celebration Pointe Mall on February 8
Dave & Buster's
4949 Celebration Pointe Ave, Gainesville

Dave & Buster’s - the ultimate destination to eat, drink, play and watch – opens their ninth location in Florida on Monday, February 8th at the Celebration Pointe Mall in Gainesville, FL with new health and safety precautions in place to provide good clean fun for everyone.

“We’re excited to finally open and bring our eat-ertainment center to Gainesville” said General Manager, Kendrick Smith. “As part of our commitment to the wellbeing of our guests and team members, we’ve enhanced our safety and cleaning protocols. We’re dedicated to providing a good, clean and fun experience for people of all ages.”

The 18,500 square-foot restaurant and entertainment complex offers tons of the latest and greatest arcade games, a chef-crafted menu, innovative drink offerings and premium sports viewing featuring the 40-foot “WOW” Wall at the D&B Sports Bar. It’s an immersive environment that has something for everyone.

The Midway features hundreds of new and classic arcade games where hard-earned tickets can be redeemed for a variety of exciting prizes, including Apple products, Xbox consoles, Beats by Dre and more. In addition to traditional games, guests can experience Dave & Buster’s thrilling multi-player virtual reality attraction, featuring Jurassic World VR ExpeditionTM, DragonfrostTM, Star TrekTM: Dark Remnant experience, Men in Black: Galactic GatewayTM, and the Terminator®: Guardian of Fate.

Read the full release here.
American Commercial Realty Launches new Multi Family Brand “The Hammocks”

American Commercial Realty (“ACR”), announced the launch of four renovated and rebranded apartment communities comprising 461 units in Gainesville, FL, all now to be known as “The Hammocks”.
On Thursday January 21, 2021, The HAMMOCKS on 20th hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the launch of this new brand, the physical renovations, and their great new story.  The Hammocks builds upon the entrepreneurial and growth spirit that is driving Gainesville.  By creating a new brand to meet the desires, price point and quality of service in demand, the Hammocks is an exciting new portfolio of apartment buildings garnering considerable attention from renters.  
Public officials and key community attendees included City Commissioner David Arreola, Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr., and Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Eric Godet. The event was co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and was open to the community. The Hammocks proudly supports the Gainesville business community and Innovate Florida. They are a preferred provider of apartments to many businesses.

Richard Baer, President of American Commercial Realty kicked off the event by discussing the project, and his belief in the future of the Gainesville economy.   “I believe strongly in the economics of Gainesville,” Baer said. “Even with a pandemic and other national recessions that will take place, UF and Shands are absolute fixtures that will always anchor the community.”
GACAR Panel Discussion: Housing Action Plan
Wednesday, February 3, 10 a.m.

GACAR will be livestreaming a strategic panel discussion on Wednesday, February 3 at 10:00am concerning the City of Gainesville's Housing Action Plan. Members can view the discussion live on GACAR's business page, and are encouraged to participate by voicing their questions and concerns in the livestream's comments section. Please note, questions for the panelists will be taken directly from the comments section. 
Moderator- Gia Arvin, Florida REALTORS Treasurer and local Broker
Panelist- Dave Ferro, Past GACAR & MLS President and local Broker
Panelist- Heather Swanson, Past GACAR President and local REALTOR
Panelist- Jeremy Thomas, Past GACAR President and local REALTOR
Panelist- Cherrie Hughes, local REALTOR
Conducting Intro and Close- GACAR President Patti Moser
City Housing Representative - Phimetto Lewis & staff
Topics of Focus
1. ADUs
2. 3 unrelated rule
3. Linkage Fees 
4. Missing aspects- GRU, RTS, Jobs, and Infrastructure
5. Strategic Partnerships- suggestions for strategic partnerships
6. Employer Assisted Housing Program 
For more information, please contact our Government Affairs Director, Matt Umanos, at mumanos@gacar.com.
Tioga Town Center earns accreditations and expands offerings

Tioga Town Center, The Flats at Tioga Town Center, and ownership, Hankin Group and Hankin Apartments, won multiple awards during 2020, and now offer 11,827 square feet of new commercial space, 144 brand new modern luxury apartment homes, in addition to a new state of the art Playground and other Town Center improvements.

Read all the details in the full release here.
Free Quality Child Care available in Waldo

If you have a child who was at least 3 years old by Sept 1, they may qualify for free quality child care. Episcopal Children’s Services Head Start offers a free high quality school readiness program providing individualized education, health, nutrition, disability, mental health, and family support services. ECS has two classrooms open, serving 34 children ages 3-4 years old. Virtual services are available as well! To apply, visit www.ecs4kids.org, click on Head Start programs, and click on apply now. Once you submit your application, a staff member will call you for more information. ECS is excited to serve your child at Waldo Community School!
LifeSouth to Host Community Blood Drive in Support of Santa Fe High School
Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hal Brady Recreation Complex Gymnasium
14300 NW 146 Terrace, Alachua

LifeSouth invites the community to support Santa Fe High School and save up to three lives in local hospitals when they host a blood drive on Saturday, February 6. The drive will be held at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex Gymnasium, located at 14300 NW 146 Terrace in Alachua between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This blood drive will benefit Santa Fe High School, which will receive a grant based on the number of donors. More blood donations will mean more support for our local high school and more lives saved.

To maintain social distancing, all donors will be spaced apart while waiting and donating blood. Donor temperature will be checked at the door prior to entering the blood drive. All donors will receive coupon for a free one-topping Domino’s pizza, a recognition item, a special t-shirt, and a free COVID-19 antibody screening. Blood donors must be at least 17 (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required. LifeSouth supplies one hundred percent of the blood to all the hospitals in Gainesville and the surrounding communities. For more information on donating blood or to schedule an appointment to donate, call toll-free 888-795-2707 or visit lifesouth.org.
‘Survival of the Slowest’ exhibit now open with LIVE animals at the Florida Museum

Visit the Florida Museum of Natural History to see how slow and steady wins the race in the “Survival of the Slowest” exhibit! See 16 different species of LIVE animals, including a sloth, iguana, tortoise and more! The exhibit will highlight the unique adaptations of slow, small or weak animals to show how they’ve survived against all odds. A keeper is present in the exhibit to check on the animals, educate guests and answer questions. This is a bilingual exhibit with content in both English and Spanish. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for Florida residents and $7 for ages 3-17. Museum members and UF students with a valid Gator 1 card receive free admission. For more information, visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/exhibits/survival.
City of Gainesville names new fire chief

Joseph W. Dixon, Sr. has been named fire chief of the City of Gainesville and Gainesville Fire Rescue. He is expected to begin his new role March 15.
Chief Dixon most recently served as fire chief of the City of Goldsboro in North Carolina. There, he implemented a reorganization to include the positions of deputy chief and lieutenant, enabling additional advancement opportunities within the department at a cost savings to Goldsboro. He also served in various roles at the Howard County Maryland Fire Department, rising to the rank of assistant fire chief. 
Chief Dixon earned a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership/Fire and Rescue from Waldorf College. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy, Executive Fire Officer Program. 
“Chief Dixon will continue the Gainesville's tradition of exploring new and novel ways to provide public safety services to our neighbors. As we work to implement our strategic plan, GFR will assume a greater role in helping us to address community health, and I look forward to working with Chief Dixon to tackle this critical challenge," said Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman.
Interim Fire Chief JoAnne Rice has led GFR since September, upon the retirement of Chief Jeffrey Lane. She extended her plans for retirement at that time, and now has set her retirement from the department for Feb. 9.
"I would like to personally recognize and thank Chief Rice for her exceptional leadership during this transition period which included serving as Incident Commander for the Westwood Estates Sinkhole response," said Feldman.
Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Stephen Hesson will transition into the role of interim fire chief Feb. 9 until Chief Dixon’s start date.
For additional information, please contact City of Gainesville Public Information Officer Rossana Passaniti at 352-393-7842 or passanitir1@cityofgainesville.org.
Understanding Employment Law and Vaccines
by Wendy King, Director of Health and Performance for Hub International 

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes a larger part of the national conversation, employers will need to assess and/or develop a vaccination policy and plan. Employer-driven vaccination programs require a thorough understanding of employment law, compliance, employee well-being and education.

This e-book, first in a series on Vaccines and the Workplace, covers federal employment law considerations and explains the specific limitations pertaining to requiring employees to be vaccinated.
Community Hospice & Palliative Care Welcomes Dr. Stefanie B. Lord, M.D. as New Medical Director to Serve the North Central Florida Community
Community Hospice & Palliative Care welcomes Dr. Stefanie B. Lord, M.D. as new Medical Director. Dr. Lord is on the faculty of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and has resided in Gainesville since 1979. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Florida with a degree in Microbiology and Cell Science, and was awarded membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Dr. Lord received her medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and completed her Internal Medicine residency at University of Florida, and is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has been practicing in Gainesville and on the medical staff at North Florida Regional Medical Center since 1991 and served as both Chief of Medicine and Chief of Staff during this time. In addition to general internal medicine, Dr. Lord has practiced at North Florida Regional Medical Center as an emergency physician.
City of Gainesville workforce development survey: Food/Beverage industry

The City of Gainesville strives to support a strong local economy. One way the city does this is by working with local partners to support workforce development initiatives. To start, the focus is on the food, beverage and hospitality industry in Gainesville. The City aims to improve employment opportunities and a strong workforce to benefit local businesses and neighbors. 

As your business provides food, beverage and/or hospitality jobs, the City would like to learn from your experiences. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. Please provide responses that reflect your experiences during a normal (non-COVID) year. Your feedback will help the City to best serve the needs of our local businesses and neighbors.

If you have any questions, please contact Karissa Raskin, Civic Collaboration Specialist at the City of Gainesville at raskink1@cityofgainesville.org.