Gainesville to resume sandbag events Wednesday  

Gainesville resident Kellam Johnson O'Brien, 7, takes a break from holding sandbags open as his father, Sean Johnson, in white shirt, fills bags for a stranger.
Gainesville resident Kellam Johnson O'Brien, 7, takes a break from holding sandbags open as his father, Sean Johnson, in white shirt, fills bags for a stranger. Father and son arrived at Citizens Field at 8 a.m. to help others fill bags and remained at the site for several hours. Kellam was promised ice cream for his contribution. (Photo by Megan V. Winslow)

The city of Gainesville has extended its sandbag distribution through 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

Alachua County is under both a Tropical Storm Watch and a Flood Watch as Hurricane Ian approaches. Both the county and city have declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm. 

Gainesville resident Matthew Sides, in gray, helps a stranger fill sand bags.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Gainesville resident Matthew Sides, in gray, helps a stranger fill sandbags.

The area is set to experience tropical storm force winds above 39 miles per hour and conditions are expected to deteriorate overnight Wednesday and into Thursday, according to local officials. 

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“Neighbors are advised to continue to prepare themselves, their families and their property should our area experience major wind and rain effects as Hurricane Ian approaches,” city officials said in a press release. 

City residents can pick up to 10 pre-filled bags per vehicle from the Public Works administration building, 405 NW 39th Ave., starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The event will run until 4 p.m. or until the city runs out of sandbags. 

The city is asking residents headed to the Public Works site to drive north on NW 6th Street, turning right (east) on NW 13th Street. 

Residents also can make their sandbags at Citizens Field, 1000 NE Waldo Road. The city provides the bags and the sand, but residents will have to bring their own shovels and fill their own bags. As with the pre-filled bag distribution, the city will cap the bags at 10 per vehicle. 

Alachua County has provided pre-filled sandbag pick up at Wayside Park, 11855 NW U.S. Highway 441, in Alachua, and is running a fill-your-own bags site at the Alachua County Public Works building at 5620 Northwest 120th Lane in Gainesville. 

The city of Newberry began offering fill-your-own sandbags at its Public Works Compound, 120 NW 260th Street, on Monday, but told WUFT that by 1 p.m. Tuesday the site was running low on supplies. 

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