City Commission meets Monday night


At Monday’s meeting, City Commissioners will consider advancing a state grant effort and approving a cost-share agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management district as funding is lined up for the Riberia Street improvement project.

The regular meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall.

Also on the City Commission agenda:

– a public hearing and final action on an ordinance to allow parades along St. George Street

– presentation by Save Our Bridge President Theresa Segal on plans for the restored bridge’s reopening

– presentation by the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida on carriage horses

– approval of grants for police equipment; including two patrol Segways.

As part of the application process for a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the Riberia Street improvement project, a public workshop will be held before and public hearing during Monday’s City Commission meeting,

The workshop at 4:00 p.m. and hearing during the regular session will cover the city’s Fair Housing Policy and get citizens’ views and comments on the city’s economic and community development needs.

The CDBG grant is administered by the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

A public hearing on the completed CDBG application is scheduled for the October 12 regular City Commission meeting.

The cost-share agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management district is for $100,000 in storm water upgrades for the project, the cost to be divided between the district and city.

Restoring parades on St. George

A public hearing and final action are scheduled on an ordinance to allow parades on St George Street.

A 2003 amendment to the St George Street Performer ordinance was recently removed by commissioners on advice of First Amendment Attorney Michael Kahn, and this ordinance will restore it under our city’s parade code.

Living History organizers were particularly concerned for events such as the annual British Night Watch, and Drake’s and Searle’s raids, which include marches along St. George Street.

Bridge of Lions – doing reopening right

Theresa Segal, who led a successful Save Our Bridge campaign to restore the Bridge of Lions, wants to make sure the reopening is well-orchestrated.

Segal met recently with Bridge of Lions Public Information Officer Laurie Sanderson, contractor Skanska’s Jennifer Brown, City Manager Bill Harriss, and Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson.

Monday she will brief commissioners, “to provide historical context and help to define the factors that have a bearing on the planning for this event.”

Among elements to be sorted out, County Commissioner and city resident Ken Bryan suggested a charity raffle for the first walker, bicyclist, motor vehicle and the like to cross the reopened span, while the Florida Department of Transportation was considering a “soft opening” by year’s end, with formal ceremonies six months later.

Segways on police grant list

Look for beat cops on wheels along St. George Street with approval of more than $60,000 in grants for our Police Department by commissioners Monday.

The grants are made annually by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two segways are included in a variety of equipment planned with the grants. “These will give our police much better response time and greater visibility above crowds along St. George Street and during special events,” Police Chief Loran Lueders says.

Also on the department’s shopping list: an all terrain vehicle (ATV) for waterfront patrol, 12 tasers, speed monitoring equipment, a directional and portable traffic information sign, crime scene net books and internet service, three defibrillators and accessories, crowd control equipment and signs for special events.

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