HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The City of High Springs and Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures (AOA) are calling it quits to their arrangement for AOA to manage the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost after the City found that AOA was launching the majority of their vessels from their other locations. At the May 11 High Springs City Commission meeting, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, City Manager Ashely Stathatos announced the change. Instead, the Canoe Outpost will operate as a city park open to the public.
Both parties agreed to part ways by the end of June. “AOA has agreed to honor all reservations,” said Stathatos. The Canoe Outpost will still serve as a launching point to the Santa Fe River, but there will not be an exclusive agreement with any one outfitter.
City Coffers Get Extra Dollars
In other City business, High Springs will be receiving an additional $3 million from the Suwannee River Water Management District to apply to the expansion of the wastewater treatment facility project. The City had set aside American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, impact fees and reserve funds for Phase 1 of the project. If ARPA funds will not be needed for this project, the funds can be used for other projects.
Stathatos announced that the City has been seeking a state legislative appropriation for the Priest Theater. “The Senate has agreed to give us additional funds as well so right now, between the House and Senate, they are recommending to the Governor’s Office funding of $1.04 million towards the project,” she said. “This still needs to go to the Governor’s Office, but we anticipate that he will not veto the request.”
Utility Easement Vacated
In other business, the Commission approved vacating a utility easement on first reading at the request of Gary and Patricia Grunder. In 2003, a 50-foot alleyway was vacated by the City and deeded to the Grunders. At that time the City reserved a 15-foot utility easement in the mistaken belief that there was an existing water line in the easement.
The Grunders propose building a garage and attached green house in that area and are unable to do so unless the City vacates the easement. Stathatos said there were no plans to run water lines in that easement now or in the future. City staff recommended the easement be vacated as it serves no public purpose.
Commissioner Tristan Grunder recused himself from voting on this issue as the petitioners are relatives.
New Sign for Historic Building
The Historic High Springs Elementary School and Community Center at 23760 N.W. 187th Avenue will soon be home to a free-standing sign featuring Thomas “Pop” Diedeman and Essie Mae Williams Gassett. The sign will be placed in front and to the left of the main entrance of the building. Lighting and landscaping are also proposed to highlight the sign, which is an unattached mural painted during the recent Walldogs event.
As the building is considered to be part of the Parks and Recreation facilities, the item was presented to the Commission by Parks and Recreation Board Chair Linda Hewlett following their Board’s approval of the action. The request will also be considered by the City’s Historic Preservation Board.
In other business, regarding commercial recycling, Waste Pro’s Dayna Miller informed the Commission that due to state statutes, commercial accounts may set up their own recycling arrangements directly with Waste Pro.
Waste Pro will be increasing the number of times they are emptying shared dumpsters to help the company gauge how often they need to be emptied in the future.
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