He had a stellar career. Stryker, a 5 ½-year-old Belgian Malinois, has been a valued member of Mount Dora Police Department for four years. Officer Adam McCulloch has been Stryker’s handler and partner throughout the dog’s service to the community.
The Mount Dora Police Department is saddened to announce Stryker will retire on December 2. The team of McCulloch and Stryker are responsible for making over 140 arrests, as well as seizing guns, cocaine, meth, heroin, marijuana and prescription pills during their tenure together.
A few months ago, Stryker suffered an injury while off-duty which required surgery to repair a disc in his spine. As he was recovering and undergoing physical therapy, Stryker was diagnosed with a mass in his intestines requiring another surgery. He is now rehabilitating at home.
“I would like to thank everyone for the sincere thoughts about Stryker,” said Officer McCulloch. “Every week he has been going through physical therapy to learn how to walk and do simple things we take for granted like sitting, standing, lying down, and even running.”
Officer Adam McCulloch & Stryker
After careful consideration, it was decided to retire Stryker from service to ensure he is able to recover and live a full life with McCulloch and his family.
Upon Stryker’s retirement, the Mount Dora Heroes Foundation’s K-9 Program will take care of Stryker’s medical expenses. This will ensure McCulloch and his family are not burdened with excessive costs for a K-9 who has done so much for the Mount Dora community.
I think it is important to remind everyone that what follows is only my opinion of a few of the most important or interesting items from this evening's Mount Dora City Council meeting. I am just one of seven members and others might or might not agree with my thinking on the items I choose to include in my reports to you.
Harmon Massey was sworn in as a newly elected At-Large member while Mayor Nick Girone, District 1 Council member Laurie Tillett and I were sworn in as re-elected members.
Here are some upcoming downtown special events that you might want to put on your holiday season calendar: Saturday 11/25 is Light Up Mount Dora with the lights switched on at about 6:30. Friday 12/1 is the Christmas Walk from 6-9 p.m. with fireworks at 8:45. Saturday 12/2 is the 57th Christmas Parade stepping off at 10 a.m. Sunday 12/31 New Year's Eve Celebration with fireworks at midnight. Don't miss out on the Mount Dora holiday fun!
We approved moving ahead with a IT Strategic Plan at a cost of just under $25K.
We approved our FY 2016-17 Year End Budget of a little more than $73 million. The budget year ended September 30 and the last few weeks of September included some unanticipated expensed due to Hurricane Irma.
We began discussing the various options available to us to pay for the anticipated need to replace/add to our fire stations and trucks. We have a "Fire Assessment Fee" of $50 per home per year in place but it is scheduled to sunset next year. Over the upcoming months we will try to come up with the best way possible to provide for better Fire/EMS response times as our city continues to grow. Obviously, public safety is a top priority.
Here's some good news.... as the popularity of pickelball continues to grow we will be adding 6-8 new courts at the Mount Dora Golf Association on Highland. For about $14,000 we can resurface some old tennis courts that are currently out of service and transform them into pickleball courts to help meet the demand.
Hurricane Irma caused a massive street collapse on Magnolia Ending in the Dogwood Mountain neighborhood. Our city staff has been working with engineers and contractors to come up with a plan to rebuild the street and figure out how to prevent future washouts. A phased project should begin in January. Phase one will be to stabilize the site. Phase two will involve rebuilding the roadway, utility lines, sidewalks and storm sewers. Wetlands mitigation could well be required in Phase 3. The work promises to be messy and noisy but it has to be done and done properly. Residents in the Magnolia Ending area will receive more details on the next steps in the next few days.
The late great cowboy comedian, Will Rogers had a way with words. He once quipped; "Never miss a chance to shut up".
I'll shut up now but let me thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve as your District 4 City Council Rep. and to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!
Recently, patrons of downtown Mount Dora noticed the valuable commodity of parking became even more scarce.
In recent weeks, the City of Mount Dora erected “No Parking” signs along at least three downtown blocks, an area already affected by a substantial parking shortage. The areas include Third Avenue west of Alexander Street, Fourth Avenue east of Baker Street, and Third Avenue east of Baker Street.
The City did not respond to a request for the rationale of the timing of the reduction or whether the signs are planned on additional downtown streets. The number of recent parking spaces eliminated is estimated in the dozens.
The new signs appear on streets that became very narrow when drivers parked on both sides. According to the city, parking is now permitted on one side only to allow adequate passage for emergency vehicles. In one half-block area, parking is prohibited on both sides.
In the past, the City staff stated there were 720 public parking spaces downtown and a 200-space parking shortage if all the restaurants were full. The recent removals significantly increase that deficit and can profoundly affect downtown businesses’ revenue during their short six-month season.
The City of Mount Dora has been considering a mix of short- and long-term options to remedy the shortage, but nothing is imminent. In the meantime, a temporary moratorium on removing downtown parking spaces was not proposed.
One of the quickest short-term remedies under review by City staff is leasing a parking lot on Highland Street to use for a valet service after the previous valet company discontinued their brief service last summer. Drivers could opt to drop their car at a downtown valet stand and have it stored at the Highland Street lot until they are ready for it to be retrieved.
Another short-term remedy is a four-hour limit on parking in the downtown core which the City expects to implement in the winter of 2018.
The City may also provide a designated parking lot for store and restaurant employees. There have been efforts to encourage owners and employees of downtown businesses to park outside the downtown core to allow more spaces for customers, but compliance is voluntary. The recent parking reduction arguably spurs employees and owners to park closer into the downtown business district.
Scott Alderman with his 7-passenger shuttle.
One local resident, Scott Alderman, started a free shuttle service in October to help visitors get around the downtown area. His golf-cart-type shuttle, named Mount Dora Transit, operates daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The electric shuttle only operates within downtown and has room for seven passengers. Although it doesn’t directly help shuttle people into downtown from outlying areas, anyone wanting assistance getting among downtown locations can merely call or text 352-409-8722 for a lift. Alderman plans for the business to generate revenue by selling advertising space on the shuttle and having it available for private functions.
Other solutions to the parking shortage being considered by the City include the purchase of nearby available properties just outside the downtown core to use as parking lots, as well as the long-term solution of building a parking garage.
The city is currently examining a 23-passenger, fixed-route shuttle service modeled after the successful one in Stuart, Florida. These electric vehicles would shuttle visitors from parking lots in other parts of the city into downtown.