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February 14, 2024

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These highlights will give residents a quick review of the commission meeting and provide video, agenda, and other useful links.

During the commission comment period, the County Commission voted to dedicate $1 million in Bed Tax dollars to enhance sports facilities in county parks and the attraction of sports tourists. The commission dedicated $500,00 to improving the soccer facilities at Rotary Park in Jonesville. The improvements envisioned include new bleachers and a press box to create a more functional “soccer stadium.” For the remaining $500,000, the commission directed staff to return with ideas for sporting event facility improvements at other parks. 

Read the complete highlights for this meeting.

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FEATURE STORY- A Day at Fire Rescue: The Ordinary and The Extraordinary

Over the past year, the gun violence crisis has been of great concern to our community. While joining Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) on what I thought would be a routine ride-along, we responded to a call where a tragic shooting occurred that required ACFR’s services and skills. Privacy and HIPPA concerns keep me from providing any details about this incident. I will, however, reference the shooting incident in the story below. This was a reminder for me that on any given call our first responders may face dangerous, life-threatening situations. It was also a reminder that, along with law enforcement, fire rescue personnel are frequently called out to incidents involving shootings.

“Our men and women of fire service face an enormous task they have to be prepared for a wide variety of calls at any moment,” said Fire Chief Harold Theus, who praised the crews’ effectiveness around the county.

Read the full story.

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Celebrate Black History Month

Watch a selection of Alachua County Black History videos.

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Roof Replacement and Home Repair Funding Available for County Residents

State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP) funding for roof replacement and home repair as part of the Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program is available through the Alachua County Housing Division. The funds are for low and very low-income eligible applicants who reside in Alachua County. Those living in the City of Gainesville are ineligible. This program is first come, first serve.

To qualify for the funds, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The assisted unit must be owner-occupied, the owner’s primary residence, and located in Alachua County and outside the City of Gainesville.
  • Property taxes must be paid current on the unit to be assisted.
  • Homeowners must be very low or low income, depending on the funding source.
  • Except for emergency repairs, each unit must meet or exceed the minimum housing code.
  • Other requirements may need to be met, depending on the funding source.

Click to see low and very low-income household sizes.

For an application or more information, contact Alachua County Housing Grants and Contracts Specialist Tom Allred at 352-337-6240 or [email protected].

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Public Works Inspectors Monitor Fiber Optic Installation in County’s Right-of-Ways

The Alachua County Public Works Department inspectors are working closely with two companies installing fiber optics distribution lines. Campus Communications Group and IQ Fiber are installing about 300 miles of fiber optics in the Gainesville area and other municipalities. All utilities within the county’s road right-of-ways are allowed by permit, and companies must restore any disturbed areas to pre-existing conditions.

Fiber optics lines are small pieces of glass or plastic about the size of a human hair banded together into a cable and placed underground. Fiber optics can carry many data streams simultaneously.

The construction happening now will soon benefit the citizens of Alachua County by offering broadband (fast) internet connection. Fiber optics are currently the fastest, most efficient, and most reliable internet connection available.

For more information, contact Acting Construction Inspector Superintendent Mr. David H. Owens at 352-548-1286.

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Zucchini is the February Plant of the Month

The UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office is pleased to announce that the February "Plant of the Month" is zucchini.

Zucchini is a member of the melon, gourd, and cucumber family. It is usually dark green but can also be light green, yellow, multicolored, or striped. Zucchini is a good source of potassium and is full of Vitamins C, B6, A, and fiber.

"Zucchini is a green powerhouse that not only adds a crisp bite to your plate but also delivers a nutrient-packed punch, promoting health and flavor in every delicious slice," said Commission Chair Mary Alford.

February is a good time to grow zucchini in North Central Florida. Check the Plant of the Month website for information on planting, harvesting, recipes, and more. Listen to the Extension Cord Podcast to get further insights on the Plant of the Month.

The Plant of the Month program is a collaborative effort between Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County, Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers, Alachua County Public Library, and Working Food. 

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Summer Healing Art Workshops

Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center invites survivors of violence living in Bradford and Union counties to participate in Healing Art workshops over the summer. Six sessions will be held during June and July 2024.

Certificated advocates will facilitate art workshops and focus on using creative expression to assist with healing. No artistic skill is needed to participate. All survivors of sexual violence are welcome to attend the workshops. The workshops will be held in alternating weeks between Bradford and Union counties. Workshops will be hosted at different times of the day, including morning, afternoon, and evening, to accommodate a variety of schedules.

"Art can help us tell the stories we are not ready to speak," said Alachua County Victim Advocate Counselor Bethan O'Connor.

For more details about or to express interest in the workshops, please complete the online form or contact Allison Green at 352-213-1330.

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February Extension Programs

Family and Consumer Sciences Program

Commercial Horticulture Programs

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County Seeks Advisory Board Volunteers

Alachua County seeks volunteers to serve on advisory boards. Those looking for a volunteer opportunity that allows them to give back to their community and participate in their county's decision-making process should consider serving on one of the many board vacancies currently open. The County Commission relies on input from these boards to make informed decisions and set policies.

Over 250 citizens serve on the advisory boards advising county government and local agencies on many topics. They include affordable housing, economic development, environmental protection, human rights, county finances, and many other issues. The Alachua County Commission seeks citizen volunteers to serve on several Advisory Boards.

Find out more about Advisory Board openings.

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