The Gainesville City Commission will meet Thursday for its regular meeting and cover redistricting, a University Avenue traffic study and an unsolicited bid proposal.
Redistricting the city’s election districts
The commission has tackled its redistricting issues over the past few weeks and held multiple special meetings. However the city commission remains in a holding pattern until the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approves the county-wide district.
The city expects the BOCC to discuss the issue at a later April meeting. Until then, the city will continue with a district plan first presented by Gainesville Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos and presented to Supervisor of Elections Kim A. Barton in a special meeting last week.
University Avenue and 13th Street traffic study Phase II
Staff will present a new traffic study to the commission on Thursday at 11 a.m. as a time certain item.
This Phase II study expanded the borders of Phase I completed in October 2021 for a total of four miles of coverage.
The new iteration spans University Avenue from NW 34th Street to just past Fred Cone Park and covers 13th Street from NW 8th Avenue to SW 16th Ave.
The study presents options for the roadways and focuses on “proven safety strategies” like raised crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands, roundabouts and rapid flashing pedestrian crossing beacons.
One option presented for the eastern portion of University Avenue would reduce car lanes and add bike lanes from the Alachua County Library District headquarters to Fred Cone Park.
The study also includes adding three pedestrian crosswalks between NW 34th Street and NW 22 Street near Gale Lemerand Drive.
The commission is scheduled to hear the presentation and provide directives for moving forward.
Unsolicited bid proposal
Gainesville staff has developed a process for receiving unsolicited proposals that are sent outside of the typical request for proposals or request for qualifications.
The question came up last year after the commission began moving forward with an unsolicited proposal for an East Gainesville grocery store.
If approved, the pilot program would run for six months and require a fee to help cover staff costs. CIty staff researched similar programs already in place in Lake City, Tallahassee, Miami, Escambia County, Alachua County and within the University of North Florida and the Hillsboro County Aviation Authority.
Waldo Road/ Airport Gateway analysis
Alachua County and City of Gainesville staff have worked together in order to further industrial and commercial development near the Gainesville Regional Airport.
The two entities want to conduct a market analysis of the surrounding areas to see how they could develop down the road. Alachua County has already set aside $100,000 for the effort, and in a draft memorandum of understanding, neither city or county woud exceed $100,000 for the market analysis.
The first step, after approval, would be a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) through the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The initial cost of which would be $25,000 to $30,000.
GRACE outreach presentation
GRACE Marketplace will give a presentation to the commission and update it on the Downtown Street Outreach.
The program has been running for seven months and has already hit three of its goals: housing placements with 88, placement onto local housing lists with 100 and assistance with document readiness at 25.
GRACE is also almost finished with a fourth goal to develop a referral system with the Gainesville Police Department. The year one goal is 50 and GRACE has completed 34.
The commission is expected to vote to continue or even increase funding the program. For the last year, the city gave $200,000, and staff recommends an increase to $320,000 or $400,000.
The numbers come from GRACE’s presentation which lists those as the needed numbers to continue for next year once state and federal funding drops out in June.
GRACE could possibly get some funds through the city’s nonprofit assistance program that will funnel $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to local nonprofits.