Gainesville city manager explains why he turned down “Occupy Gainesville” permit


While the protestors applied for a permit to allow them to stay overnight at the Bo Diddly  plaza, that request was turned down by City Manager Russ Blackburn.  He talked with Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM News Director Tom Krynski about the decision.

WUFT: Tell me about who makes the decision. Is it strictly your call? And what went into that decision?

Blackburn: The “Occupy Gainesville” group representatives applied for a permit yesterday. That actually was proposing that they be allowed to occupy the plaza, which is one of our city parks, from yesterday until December 2012 overnight. This would be in conflict with many other events that are prescheduled on the plaza. They’ve already reserved the stage for various performances and the plaza for different events. We actually did approve a permit for “Occupy Gainesville” yesterday and for last evening. We felt that their request was appropriate for a day, but we certainly did not feel we could give an approval for literally a year or more of occupancy of the city plaza.

Members of the group can always come and use the plaza when it is open to the public, which is 7 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. every day. We do close the plaza for maintenance, for irrigation of the grass or cleaning the restrooms. All of those functions that go with maintaining a very publicly used facility. Those occur early, early in the morning so that it’s ready and available for the community to use during those hours…

Hear the full interview above.

About Tom Krynski

Tom is an employee at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

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