Gainesville, Alachua County commissioners talk taxes and funding for Wild Space Public Places and infrastructure

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Alachua County and City of Gainesville commissioners held a joint meeting on Monday regarding the next taxation period and funding of Wild Space Public Places and Infrastructure.

The Wild Spaces and Public Places surtax is an eight-year plan, which is expiring in 2024.

In 2024, the money that is given to the city and county will be split between Wild Space Public Places and infrastructure.

The city and county commissioners are further discussing what they want to fund in infrastructure.

City Commissioner Harvey Ward says with many complaints and safety requests from the community, the commissioners know University Avenue needs to be funded somehow even though there is no source for it at this point.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how we rebuild and rethink University Avenue from Fred Cone Park to 34th Street, as a complete street,” Ward said. “As this sort of signature travel space that we all share, and that we will actually be able to be proud of.”

The community has been very clear that they expect changes of these streets from the commissioners office.

City Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker lives on Eighth Avenue, and her neighbors have been requesting speed bumps due to the speeding.

Alachua County voters gave this sector a way to improve conservation lands and create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities.

Duncan-Walker says it has come to her attention how often public park restrooms are being mentioned.

“One of the things I’ve heard, just recently, a few conversations relatively recently about our existing parks and people love them,” Duncan-Walker said. “We just did a recent renovation at Unity Park and one of the concerns was bathrooms. I know that just yesterday in a meeting at Upper Room Church, I heard that request again.”

Gainesville resident Michael Hill says he likes where the talk is going, but he has heard about staffing issues in environmental preservation and land conservation.

“We have a lot of money that we’ve bought for conservation lands, but we don’t have adequate staff,” Hill said.

The county and city want to further discuss the direction of their funds after they hear voters’ opinions.

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