ALACHUA ‒ Police Chief Jesse Sandusky began the Feb. 27 Alachua City Commission meeting with a special presentation for a member of the Alachua Police Department (ADP) who is retiring. The presentation was for K-9 Thor, a Belgian Malinois who has been in service with the APD since 2014. Thor, now 10 years old, officially retired from service at the meeting. In honor of Thor's service to the community, Sandusky presented a shadow box of his years with the department to his handler, Sgt. Justin Horn. Thor will now become Horn’s family pet with a life much more relaxed than as a police K-9.

That ceremony was followed by presenting certificates to 12 student artists from the Alachua Learning Academy who had their artwork featured on display in the foyer of City Hall.  Mayor Gib Coerper and Ms. Kovie of the Alachua Learning Academy called each student up to present the certificates while they displayed their artwork and posed for photos.

During the City’s fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, the Finance and Administrative Services Department periodically prepares fiscal analysis reports conveying the City's general fiscal operating condition to the City Commission.  City Accounting Manager Tyler Williams gave the report for the quarter ending in January, showing that the City currently has $60,659,853 in its budget, which includes both available cash holdings of $26,754,588 as well as investment portfolios of $1,639,825.

In other business, the Commission heard from City Planner Adam Hall regarding the consideration of the preliminary plat and Final PD Plan for the Peggy Road Planned Development project, which proposes the subdivision of a 51.26-acre property into 150 single family lots with associated common areas and road right-of-way.  The property is located south of Peggy Road, north of CSX rail right-of-way, east of Interstate 75.and directly across from Legacy Park, The proposed subdivision will consist of lots ranging in size from 6,000 square feet to 9,335 square feet, with the majority of lots being 6,000 square feet.

The preliminary plat proposes common areas along the eastern, southern and western boundaries of the property with one access point onto Peggy Road.  A pedestrian pathway will connect the internal sidewalk system to the public right-of-way of Peggy Road and will include a connection to the Hal Brady Recreation Complex and Legacy Park.

There will be a 50-foot buffer zone, owned by CSX, between the proposed lots and the eastern property line. The plan also proposes creating a turn lane and flashing caution light on Peggy Road to improve safety for cars entering and exiting the development as well as a crosswalk for pedestrians to access Legacy Park. The Commission approved the preliminary plat, which will now submit construction plans before getting final approval by the Commission.

On another development issue, Fletcher Development, LLC. entered into a Subdividers Agreement with the City of Alachua to provide the requirements for the construction of infrastructure for a project known as Savannah Station Phase 2A, Unit 2. This infrastructure was completed in accordance with the Subdividers Agreement and the City’s Land Development Regulations on Dec. 7, 2021. The one-year maintenance period has expired and any items in need of repair have been completed by Fletcher Development, LLC.

The initial estimate for the value of the infrastructure was $1,284,669. The required infrastructure improvements by the developer included the water system, wastewater system, electric system, roadways, stormwater conveyance system and sidewalks. Since the work has been completed, the City approved returning the $1,284,669 surety to the developer.

The Commission also approved acceptance of three recent grants to the City. The Children's Trust of Alachua County (CTAC) provided the City with a grant of $66,665 for Alachua's summer camp and enrichment services to be held at Legacy Park. Additional funding of $20,000 is projected to be received from non-CTAC funded enrollment fees.

In October 2022, staff submitted an application to the Duke Energy Foundation and the Greater Gainesville Chamber Foundation for a grant to help, strengthen, and uplift the community's awareness for climate and environmental resiliency in the Mill Creek Wetland Park. On Jan. 23, 2023, representatives from the Duke Energy Foundation and the Greater Gainesville Chamber Foundation presented the City Commission with an award of $20,000 to assist with the cost of educational exhibits and signage throughout the park.

On Nov. 16, 2022, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) executed a grant agreement with the City for the Alachua West Wastewater Improvement Project to design and construct a new pressurized wastewater main and make improvements to existing life stations. This grant is in the amount of $850,000 and requires no City matching contribution.

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