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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Changes are coming to the pedestrian crosswalk on Main Street at the intersection of Northwest 185th Road. The High Springs CRA Board met April 28 and approved changes that include new motion detector flashing pedestrian crossing signs to alert drivers that a person is in the crosswalk area to help provide more safety to those attempting to cross the street. This project has been approved by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

High Springs Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham said that in a recent meeting with FDOT staff, they said the CRA could apply for a permit, which they would grant. The City can install the signs at a projected cost of about $4,000 or FDOT can do the install in 18 to 24 months. Board members opted for the faster installation to complete the project.

Commissioner Byran Williams suggested a sign be placed in advance of the intersection to alert drivers that they may need to stop.

In a related safety matter, the Board considered awarding a contract to one of four companies that bid on a railing to be installed along the elevated sidewalk at 23517 NW 185 Road in front of the Chamber of Commerce’s building.

This sidewalk is elevated and has been a safety issue as people have misjudged the distance or not seen the drop. With increased traffic on Northwest 185th Road and Northwest 235th Street due to Farmers’ Market Pavilion activities and the openings of new businesses, a railing to prevent people from falling and guiding them to a pedestrian crossing is important to prevent potential future injuries, said CRA Coordinator David Sutton.

Companies submitting bids were Gainesville Ironworks, MPH Industries, Inc., dba Boone Welding, Rogers Welding and English Metalworks LLC. The range of prices, dependent on the style and materials chosen, ranged from $11,000 to $36,000.

Board members authorized a price range of $25,000, but asked for the companies to submit designs for future consideration that are more historic in nature to compliment the building’s style.

The Board approved $3,441 to purchase 16 American flag-related and 20 fireworks-related style banners. Last year, the CRA purchased new banners for the downtown area, along with seasonal banners that were displayed during the holidays. Sutton suggested that the banner should be rotated so they last longer in the Florida sun.

The Board also gave thumbs up to Gillingham and Sutton to coordinate a proposed Hometown Heroes banner project.

Hometown Heroes banners would include a picture of a service person who a citizen would like to honor. The banners could be located throughout the downtown area or at the four entrances into High Springs, depending on space availability and the number of applications the City receives. The cost for each banner would be $111.

The Hometown Hero banners would be on display for Patriot Day on Sept. 11 through Veterans Day on Nov. 11, in mid-November.

The program would continue yearly, and Gillingham said, “We expect to have a lot of people want to participate in this program.” Several options were discussed as to how the program would work, but ultimately the person who submits the application will receive the banner after it has been hung so they could keep it for themselves and their family.

Gillingham and Sutton will bring back details of how the program would work to the Board for final consideration.

The Board approved an agreement with Extreme Exposure for an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station. The charging station license agreement addresses the area at 18481 High Springs Main Street and, if finally approved, will provide one charging station at that location. After Extreme Exposure reviews the agreement, it will come back to the Board for final approval.

The CRA is sponsoring a Social Soiree upstairs at the Opera House on May 17 at 6:30 p.m. with guest speaker Joe Cirulli, Gainesville Health and Fitness Center founder and owner. Light refreshments will be served, and both Sutton and Gillingham will be on hand to discuss changes occurring in the downtown area. “This will give people an opportunity to learn what projects the City is working on and how they will impact residents,” said Suttong. “It also gives people an opportunity to ask questions of City staff and keep the dialogue open and informative.”

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