Last updateThu, 20 Nov 2014 12am


City takes action on ‘Trick or Treat’ and fire department

HIGH SPRINGS – Facing a 25-item agenda, which included a termination hearing for former city manager Jeri Langman, the High Springs City Commission opted to reduce the evening’s load and tabled or referred some items to the city attorney and interim city manager to address.

Items of note covered during the meeting included “Trick or Treat” and the fire department.

The commission proclaimed Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 6-8 p.m., as “Trick or Treat” night in High Springs.  The body also discussed a ground breaking for the renovation to the fire station building on Oct. 27 at 9:30 a.m., and the expected Nov. 7 delivery of a new fire truck.

A special event permit for the Rotary Club’s annual car show on Oct. 27 was granted along with several applications by various groups wishing to use the Civic Center.

A special commission meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18, to award the bid for the fire station renovation.  Bidders were Anglin Construction Co., CK Contracting, Inc., North Florida General Contracting, Inc., Riverland Construction Services LLC and TH Building Group LLC.

Other items added to the Oct. 18 agenda include a discussion of a “state of the city” letter to be mailed out to all High Springs citizens and a discussion regarding opening the street around the sinkhole behind City Hall.

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High Springs searches budget to cover police shortfall

HIGH SPRINGS – High Springs commissioners and finance director Helen McIver searched the current year’s budget to come up with $49,207 needed by the police department to upgrade their security system to be in compliance with state and federal requirements. 

Noting that next year’s budget did not have funds available for the needed purchases, McIver suggested areas in the current year’s budget, which ends Sept. 30, that might have funds remaining to cover the expenditures.

Police Chief James Holly presented the equipment list at a previous special commission meeting stating that many cities had been working on the needed upgrades for the past couple of years.  “Expenditures for FDLE/Communications are necessary to insure FDLE compliance as well as enhanced IT capability for the High Springs Police Department,” explained Holly in his written request, referencing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

High Springs officials were not aware of the required upgrades until recently, and had not planned for the expenditures in previous budget years.

McIver and Holly identified a total of $35,000 from the current Police Operations budget.  Another $14,250 was found in other areas of the current budget to accommodate the additional required purchases. 

Funds were cut from unused portions of the budget in the areas of Training and  Travel for City Commissioners ($1,500), City Manager Professional Services ($1,000), Finance Accounting and Auditing ($1,000), City Manager Car Allowance ($5,400), City Manager Dues/Subscriptions/Membership ($750), Planning, Development Codes, Code Board Attorney ($2,400), and Planning, Development, Codes Contractual Services Building Official ($2,200).

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Fudge shop to open on High Springs corner

W_-_HS_Fudge_DSCF7081_copyHIGH SPRINGS – Donnie and Shauna Lee Smith, owners of Vintage Fudge, will be opening their doors with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the High Springs Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 11 a.m.  The celebration will include free samples of the tasty treats.

Located at 90 North Main Street at the corner of Main Street and 1st Avenue, the new shop will bring a bit more sweetness to High Springs, offering more than a dozen types of fudge, sure to cure anyone’s sweet tooth.  The shop is expected to be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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Celebrate at O’Leno State Park 5th Annual Literacy Day

W_-_Oleno_Literacy_Fest_100_2432_copyHIGH SPRINGS – Celebrate the 5th Annual Literacy Day event on Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at O’Leno State Park.  Have fun with Magic and the Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses.

Listen to stories read by local authors and guest readers, and talk with book illustrators.  Stretch your legs and take a “Where Tales Meet Trails” adventure walk, and then sign up for a library card.  There will also be an arts and crafts area, live animals and refreshments. Learn about adult literacy programs and rreceive a free state park day pass.

Admission to the park is free with the donation of a new or gently used family oriented book. To learn more about Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses, visit To learn more about the park, visit  O’Leno State Park is located located 6 miles north of High Springs on U.S. Highway 441.

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Construction on Alachua Welcome Center to start

W-_ChamberGrantDSCF4592ALACHUA – Construction on the new Alachua Welcome Center, to be located in the former Alachua Police Department building on Main Street, could begin in as few as two weeks, according to Linda Chapman.

According to Chapman, the city hired BDI Construction to renovate the building over two years ago but could not get building permits authorized by the Alachua Chamber of Commerce.

City of Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper said BDI’s current price is $80,000 for the entire job, which he said the city hopes to negotiate down to around $50,000.

“We’re not happy with the prices we’ve got from the construction company,” Chapman said.  “We’re going to try to negotiate those down.  After that we’ll get our permits and we should be able to start working.”

According to Chapman, the city will pay the construction firm and be reimbursed by the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.

Coerper said members of the Alachua Chamber of Commerce met Wednesday, Aug. 15 in order to set a more concrete construction start time.

Chapman said the city has received free architectural and electrical planning work from local professionals, and she said once these plans and the building permits are prepared construction should start.

Coerper noted that he hopes more local businesses will offer in-kind donations in order to help the city construct the welcome center more efficiently.

“We’re looking for help from businesses,” Coerper said.  “We may need a few donations to help upgrade to welcome center affordably.  It all helps.”

“I think we’ll be able to start building in two weeks,” Chapman said. “We’re waiting for an electrical overlay plan,” referring to free electric planning donated by Leon Burgess.

“Once we have the electrical overlay and we have the permits, we should be able to start construction.”

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