Highlights of the May 28, 2024, County Commission Meeting

​​​​​West End Golf Course

The County Commission approved purchasing an option contract from Viking Companies LLC to secure the rights to buy the West End Golf Course (12830 W. Newberry Road, Newberry). 

The $3.8-million purchase is significantly lower than the original $6 million asking price and will ensure the location remains a recreational site and doesn’t become a major housing development. Funds for the purchase will come from the voter-approved Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) surtax.

Following a rigorous community engagement process, the course is expected to become a transformational park that is much needed in this area of the county. The county plans to license the space needed on the site to Viking Companies LLC to construct an across-country track on site, which will be used during the 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in March 2025.

Watch the discussion.

East Gainesville Legacy Project

The County Commission took a pivotal step toward deciding the future development of the corner of Southeast 8th Avenue and Southeast 15th Street in east Gainesville. 

On what was formerly known as the location of the planned Ability Housing/Dogwood Village development, the commission voted to send out a Source Selection for developers to bring forth ideas to build market-rate and workforce single-family homes on the nearly 13-acre site. Staff will also bring back information on what a shared equity model would look like.

Following two community public meetings and additional feedback, nearby residents overwhelmingly wanted single-family homes constructed. Mixed-use and recreational options were second and third choices.

Watch the discussion.

Affordable housing plan

The commission adopted the county’s 2024 affordable housing plan.

The plan provides an overview of funding sources and strategies to find various affordable housing projects and programs, including single- and multi-family housing; the plan defines affordable housing, shared equity models, and community land trusts.

Since 2023, the county has purchased the Scottish Inns motel on Southwest 13th Street in Gainesville, begun architecture and engineering on the Scottish Inns and Budget Inn to convert them into single-unit occupancies, offered down-payment assistance for nine homes, helped with home modifications for 19 homes, helped house ten vulnerable families, and is in the process of purchasing the Sunrise Residence Inn complex.

Watch the discussion.
Learn about county housing for those without homes.

Speed limit enforcement in school zones

The commission directed staff to advertise an ordinance allowing the use of speed detection systems to ticket people traveling 11-plus mph over the speed limit in school zones.

Under state law, counties and cities can use detection systems to capture photos or videos of violators and fine them $100.

A study at each county school found that more than 100 drivers exceeded the posted speed limits by more than 10 mph in 18 of 22 school zones. Most violators were at Kimball Wiles, Lawton M. Chiles, Meadowbrook, Shell elementary schools, and Kanapaha Middle School.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office will hire a vendor and administer the program. Before the cameras go live, a 60-day public education campaign is required to inform the community about the program. The Clerk of the Court would collect and distribute the revenue from the fines. Once operational, the program is expected to be cost-neutral or revenue-positive.

Review the school speed zone study.
Watch the discussion.

Fresh Food Pathways

The commission authorized staff to enter contract negotiations with New Venture Advisors to run its two-year Fresh Food Pathways project.

The budget for the pilot program is $962,000. It will create a locally sourced food hub to develop aggregation and distribution for small local farmers who typically need help competing and accessing larger markets and customers. A feasibility study will be completed during the pilot to provide an economic analysis of the program and a business plan if it is extended.

The vendor will work with local urban farmers, Food is Medicine programs, and entrepreneur development projects, such as Slick Gardens, Giving Garden, and the Pleasant Street Civil Rights and Cultural Center.

Watch the discussion.

Santa Fe River property purchase

The commission approved the purchase of a 250-acre property near the Santa Fe River. The property is across from Poe Springs Park, on the edge of the Alachua and Gilchrist counties.

The land and due diligence cost $2.1 million, which was paid mainly with a $1.67 million “Springs Protection” reimbursement grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Suwannee River Water Management District. The rest of the funding comes from WSPP.

Watch the discussion.


Commissioner Charles M. Chestnut IV proclaimed June 1, 2024, in Alachua County as the Gate of The Muses for Ray Charles at Dreamers Garden Day. 
Read the proclamation.

Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler proclaimed May 25, 2024, as Family Abduction Awareness Day.proclamation
Read the proclamation.

Commission Chair Mary Alford proclaimed the week of June 3 – 7 as Code Enforcement Officers Appreciations Week. 
Read the proclamation.
Watch the presentations.

See the entire May 28, 2024, agenda and video.

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