Marlowe: Newberry will continue focus on balance, children 

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said the condition of County Road 337 was the priority for the joint Monday meeting.
Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe.
Photo by Glory Reitz

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe focused on the city’s balance of priorities and children during his State of the City address on Tuesday evening.  

“It’s not just about keeping our community grounded in our heritage and our history, as important as those things are,” Marlowe said. “It is also about Newberry doing what Newberry does best, working together to solve the problems of tomorrow so that our children do not have to.”   

Marlowe brought forward a variety of examples to demonstrate the balance the city has tried to strike.  

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Newberry has started work on a veteran’s memorial to remember a core city value—love and patriotic zeal for our country. The City Commission also approved the creation of a Newberry Historical Association on Monday in order to teach children and new residents about other core values that helped build the city.  

While building the city with economic development, Marlowe said the city won’t forget its agricultural history. He added that the citizens also can’t expect farming and ranching to look the same as in decades past.  

“Holding onto our agricultural roots is central to holding onto a core part of ourselves,” Marlowe said. “But guys, agriculture is changing. We can’t force farmers or their children to stay in an industry because we like to look at their cows in their fields.” 

The city partnered with UF/IFAS to bring an extension office and with Alachua County to build the Alachua County Equestrian Center.   

In a video, City Manager Mike New said staff began shifting in 2015 from a focus on sports tourism, like the Easton Newberry Sports Complex and Champions Park, to keep agriculture prominent in the city’s fabric.  

The city has received funds to build a new water tower near the UF/IFAS extension to secure future development at the Agri-Tech Innovation Park. New said Newberry has brought together a 14-member consortium of public, private and nonprofit entities to support the park. 

Marlowe also highlighted a statistic presented at last year’s State of the City event. In 2022, Newberry issued one business license for every five homes built—124 licenses for 631 homes.  

In 2023, Marlowe said the city stayed balanced with one business license for every six homes built.  

“That one statistic paints a wonderfully accurate picture of our economic development plan and strategy that after years, and I mean years, of careful stewardship is visibly beginning to pay off in little ways all over town,” Marlowe said.  

Marlowe pointed to other projects the city wants to tackle, like becoming the Christmas capital of Alachua County. He also used the new Publix store, Bevs’ Burgers and its regional wastewater facility as examples of economic growth and resurfacing elementary school parking spots as an example of partnership with the school district.  

Marlowe has worked with the Alachua County Public School district over the past year on its rezoning process. Marlowe has also supported ACPS Superintendent Shane Andrew as he has faced votes on his employment contract.   

“As long as we keep our focus on what is best for our children [and] as long as we keep working and fighting for what’s best for our children’s future, then the state of our city will be strong today, strong tomorrow, strong together,” Marlowe said to end the event. 

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