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ALACHUA ‒ After 12 years of service, Alachua City Commissioner Gary Hardacre has stepped down. On Monday, May 10, commissioners honored Hardacre for his service as he vacated his seat on the board. In the transition ceremony, Hardacre's nameplate was removed as he stepped off the dais.

Jennifer Blalock will be filling Hardacre’s seat by winning the runoff election held May 4 and defeating Malcolm Dixon with 58 percent of the vote. City Manager Adam Boukari administered the official Oath of Office to Blalock and she then took her seat on the dais.

According to the City Charter, the City Commission also elects a new Vice Mayor from among its members each year at the first City Commission meeting after the City election. The Commission unanimously chose Commissioner Shirley Green-Brown for the position. Brown successfully defended her seat on the commission in the general election, which was held April 13.

In other business, Duke Energy handed over $1,039,857 to the City for the purchase of assets related to the recently opened Legacy Park substation. The energy company agreed to purchase the non-real property substation assets for equipment to transfer power from its transmission line to the substation and convert that power for distribution through the City substation to City distribution lines. The check was presented to Mayor Gib Coerper at the May 10 meeting.

The pandemic quarantine created significant disruption in the education system and schools had to revise the ways they taught students and come up with new ways to budget their resources. In recognition of the hard work, resilience, and creativity the teachers of Alachua County demonstrated this year, Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon asked the City of Alachua to join in proclaiming the month of May as Alachua County Public Schools Teacher and Staff Month. Coerper read the proclamation and presented it to Jackie Johnson, Public Information Director for Alachua County Public Schools.

The Commission considered and approved a request to amend the Official Zoning Atlas from Central Business District (CBD) to Commercial Intensive (CI) on a 1.09-acre property located south of U.S. Highway 441, east of Northwest 147th Drive, north of the Hitchcock’s Shopping Plaza. The parcel is currently a cleared vacant lot, surrounded by commercial uses including Hitchcock’s Plaza and Rolling Oaks Plaza. The property has been zoned with a commercial zoning designation since at least the 1980s.

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