Gainesville commission cancels Thursday meeting

The City of Gainesville has canceled Thursday’s regular meeting after three commissioners tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of last week. The city canceled six other meetings this week but left the regular meeting on the calendar until Wednesday. 

With three commissioners still dealing with COVID-19 and one commissioner absent for other reasons, the meeting would lack a physical quorum of four members needed to hold the meeting. 

Gainesville has now canceled eight meetings for the week. 

Here are the key items the commission will now take up at a later date: 

Interim charter officer six-month update

Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry was set to update the commission on her work during the first six months on the job, following a request by Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut.

“Since my first day as Interim City Manager for the City of Gainesville on November 15, 2021, I have focused on establishing a path forward that centers on delivering our services and building community more effectively and efficiently,” Curry said in a memorandum. 

Curry points to several efforts to increase unity within the city by establishing a weekly meeting with Gainesville Regional Utilities’ general manager, combining “InsideGNV” and “GRU Daily” to align internal communication and combining two separate offices into the Office of Governmental Affairs and Community Relations that reports to the city manager with lesser responsibility to GRU’s general manager. 

New GPD program

The Gainesville Police Department, Gainesville Fire Rescue and GRU will look for funding to start a new program called CADET: Community Action via Development Education and Training. 

The pre-apprenticeship program aims to help youth and young adults gain the necessary foundation for a career in one of the three organizations while also building community relations. 

For two years, the program will cost $625,921. 

East Gainesville sports complex feasibility study

The commission was set to vote on sending a request for proposals for a pro forma and feasibility study on creating a sports complex at NE 8th Avenue and Waldo Road

Staff recommends approval of the study, meaning the city would receive proposals and then vote to contract with a third party to conduct the study. 

Currently, the project looks to expand the MLK Center with four basketball courts that can convert into four volleyball courts, one synthetic soccer pitch or six pickle balls courts. The space could also be converted into a stage. 

Citizens Field would also get an upgrade under the project with a synthetic field and expanded capacity.

Hurricane shelter at GRACE Marketplace

The City of Gainesville received $70,200 from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDOE) in 2021 for a retrofit of a building at GRACE Marketplace as a hurricane shelter. 

When the city received bids, it accepted a bid for $125,000. FDOE added $47,800 to its grant, and the city needs to vote to accept the grant and supply $7,000 to complete the funding. 

Agriculture changes to land code

The commission passed the first reading of land code changes in March that would allow an increase in chicken flock size and gardens within city limits. The new regulations would allow subsistence farming, defined as growing for personal consumption or donation. The second reading of the changes was on the agenda for Thursday. 

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