Sunday, January 07, 2007


By popurlar request from Republicans and Democrats alike, all throughout Alachua County, today, we re-dedicate this site to spreading the word about the revitalization and the economic turn-around of an extraordinary community.

Ten years ago, the City of Alachua was on the way down and out. Many of its major employers had disappeared, Main Street was dominated by run-down buildings and images of small-town / urban decay were everywhere.

Thanks to the hard work of dedicated people, $13, $14 and $15 per hour jobs are being created where they didn't exist before and the tax base is expanding, even while the millage rate has been lowered to 5.5. Main Street has been revitalized into one of the most charming Main Streets in America and new community centers and public facilities have been and are being created that would be the pride of any small town.

The City of Alachua is an important asset to everyone in Alachua County. The job creation and corporate partners have added to the county's tax base and the school board's tax base, and people come from all over the county to enjoy the shops and restaurants that make up the charming Main Street.

Thank you, to the many people that have emailed us and volunteered to contribute articles to the site. We now have about 10 site authors in waiting and will be glad for receive volunteers for more.

The City of Alachua is a Good Life Community in the making.


At Sun Jan 07, 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Ex- Democrat said...

I am one of those who contacted Mr. Jones. I am glad that the tenor of this blog is changing. I always appreciated the posts that pointed out the misinformation being spread around but I did not enjoy the bantering between Mr. Grapski and the other posters. I hope that all the good things happening in Alachua will be featured. I moved to Alachua because of the ultra liberal leanings of the Gainesville Commission and the anti-growth of the County Commission.

I like Ms. Calderwood and the professionalism she brings to the meetings. I watch as many meetings as I can on Cox. I remember how they were run in the past.

I wanted to post an article from the Gainesville Sun that typifies all the good happenings and why we love the small town atmosphere here.

Is Gainesville dimmer this holiday season?


Sun staff writer
December 17. 2006 6:01AM

On a recent trip to Alachua's Main Street, Sylvia Atwood marveled at the small, rural city's Christmas decorations.

With the trees lining Main Street decked with white Christmas lights and its storefronts brightly decorated, the city's downtown made Atwood, who gave her age as "still believing in Santa Claus at 70," excited to see what Gainesville had to offer.

"After eating dinner at Conestoga's, I was in such a Christmas mood that I decided to ride down University Avenue on my way home," Atwood wrote to Since You Asked. "What a shock - no decorations to be seen anywhere. I have been in Gainesville 44 years, and I do not remember ever seeing the streets so bleak at this time of year. When did we stop celebrating the season with our decorations?"

Coni Gesualdi, Gainesville's cultural affairs manager, said her department has handled the city's official Christmas decorations for roughly the past decade, and has put up the same decorations on the first weekend of December every year.

She said this year is no different, and said the decorations that adorn light posts along Main Street and University Avenue are the same ones the department has used for years.

But Gesualdi said several factors could make downtown seem dimmer this season than in the past.

First, Gesualdi said, Gainesville Regional Utilities has installed new utility posts on parts of Main Street. Those posts are taller and farther apart, she said, making the decorations also higher and farther apart.

In addition, Gesualdi said tree growth has covered more and more of the light posts each year, making the decorations on top of the posts harder to see from certain angles.

"I was noticing myself when I was out after dark that the lights are less visible now," Gesualdi said. "They do exist, but they're a little more spread out, and they're hidden by some of our lush trees. Maybe we need to reconsider what we do for decorations."

But that's only part of what's making downtown Gainesville seem less brilliant this holiday season, Gesualdi said. She, like Atwood, recalled a brighter, more festive downtown several years ago, and Gesualdi said her department could only claim partial credit for it.

Gesualdi said the year she remembers being particularly bright was fueled in part by downtown merchants outlining their buildings with lights, and by a display in the community plaza that was funded in part by GRU.

"For a while, it really did look beautiful downtown," Gesualdi said. "It was all lit up and sparkly, and I'd love it if it could look like that again."

Dan Jesse, a spokesman for GRU, said Gainesville's focus on conservation is partially to blame for the utility's decision not to help fund any Christmas lights downtown.

He said Ocala's yearly Christmas light bonanza also played into that decision.

"Ocala so often does such a heavy festival of lights that we decided to put our efforts in some other areas," Jesse said. "This is something they really want ownership of, so there's no sense in competing with them. We've always had other things, such as Project Share, that we focus on for the holidays. Especially now that we're getting even more into conservation, we'd rather put our efforts into those other areas."

Gesualdi said the city next year will host a conference on LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which use only a fraction of the electricity conventional bulbs do. The city of Denver used these energy-efficient lights to decorate part of its downtown this holiday season, and Gesualdi said she has high hopes for Gainesville doing the same.

"That to me seems like a good road to take so that we can get that holiday feeling while promoting conservation at the same time," Gesualdi said. "I'd love to see Gainesville all lit up again for the holidays, and I'd love to see the local government and the University of Florida and GRU get behind that."

Amy Reinink can be reached at (352) 374-5088 or

At Sun Jan 07, 05:31:00 PM, Anonymous me too said...

Somebody just called me and told me this sight was back. I am glad.

My son works at the Dollar General that other people tried to keep out. He just got a raise too. So many good things have happened. I don't know why people want to stop that.

At Tue Jan 09, 03:58:00 PM, Anonymous Long time citizen said...

Mr. Lewis should get most of the credit for where we are today. I know that there are a bunch of people who dispise him but he was the main person who put in the infrastructure that has led to the city being as successful as it has been.
Our rec program is one of the best in the county. It won the competitive award of the National Babe Ruth World Series a few years back. That wouldn't have happened if Hal Brady and the citizens hadn't pull together. That is what I like about Alachua. The citizens and the staff work together for the community.


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