By Marc Crail Mount Dora City Council Member, District 4
You understand that my reports to you are for your information only and I am only one member of City Council. I don't want anyone to think that my views are in any way representative of City Council as a whole. Fair enough? I've selected a few of the items we acted on or discussed this evening that I think you might be interested in.
We gave preliminary approval to a major expansion of Waterman Village. Waterman Village has acquired nearly 37 acres on the east side of Donnelly Street directly across the street from their existing campus. They plan to construct an additional 240 units including a 48 bed Memory Support Center, more duplex/quad independent living apartments as well as a 4 story building with independent living apartments. There are plans for a golf cart and pedestrian bridge arching over Donnelly Street connecting the existing facilities with the new ones. I think this is a great idea and a much needed expansion as they currently have a waiting list of over 100 who would like to move into Waterman Village.
We approved the purchase of about $83,000 worth of personal protection equipment often called "bunker gear" for our fire fighters. The safety and well being of our fire fighters is critically important and instances of cancer among fire fighters are on the rise probably because of the increasing use of plastics and other man made materials in furnishings and fabrics in our homes. They deserve the best equipment we can provide for them as they risk their lives on a daily basis to protect our property and our lives. The funds will come from our Fire Assessment Fee. Money well spent in my opinion.
Tonight we finalized a resolution dealing with short term vacation rentals. This resolution will help regulate these rentals and clearly states our support for local Home Rule which is currently under assault by some members of our state legislature.
The long awaited downtown parking plan continues to evolve and is moving closer to implementation after a decade or more of study and discussion without much action. The parking plan has several facets including some areas where parking will be limited to 4 hours, shuttle service from lots to and from the core downtown businesses, valet service, better signage and more. These components will be rolled out over this year. While not everyone will like every part of the plan, we will implement it and make changes and tweaks along the way. I think that once all the moving parts are in place we will have made good progress on a difficult problem. Stay tuned for more information over the next couple of months.
I've reported to you before about the major collapse of the roadway on Magnolia Ending cul-de-sac in the Dogwood Mountain neighborhood. This is another complex problem that must be attend to asap. City staff reported this evening that progress has been made in design of a wall to stabilize the embankment, permitting and clean up of the effected wetlands area nearby and survey work at the site. There is a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) funding bill that has been favorably reviewed by federal authorities and is due to be voted on by Congress this Thursday, February 8. If that funding reimbursement is approved as we hope it will be, the work should begin in March and should be completed before the rainy season begins in mid-June. There is a contingency plan just in case we don't receive USDA funding. This is a top priority for both residents of Magnolia Ending and city staff. An update meeting for neighbors will be held soon. I don't have a time/date for that meeting yet but neighbors will be notified about that meeting very soon.
Thank you for allowing me to help represent you on Mount Dora City Council. We all face very tough issues in our personal lives and as a city. I am comforted by the words of L.R. Knost who wrote; "Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you."