ABOVE: Mount Dora City Hall (Mount Dora Buzz file photo)
I am often impressed by the thoughtful debates and respectful disagreements that City Council members engage in during the course of our meetings. That came to mind during this evening's meeting. I've chosen a few items that were decided or discussed to write to you about. My report comes only from me and not on behalf of City Council as a whole.
We have a long list of city construction projects currently progressing toward completion. Here's a partial list:
* We are in the design phase of major renovations to Cauley Lot Park. This is a $923,000 project that is long overdue.
* We are also in the design phase for a new Public Works Complex to be located on Limit . Concept and site plans will be presented at an upcoming council meeting.
*Helen St. Drainage improvements are currently underway and should be completed by fall at a cost of $286,000.
*Fire Station #34 replacement. #34 will likely house our emergency operations center and office facilities in addition to the fire house. This will be constructed next to the Public Works facility on Limit Ave.
*Fire Station #35 will be located on County Rd. 19A. Ground breaking is scheduled for October 27, 2021. Final design will soon be wrapped up.
*Library Parking Lot Expansion (phase 1) $131,000 will get us 20 much needed additional parking spaces. Engineering should be done within 60 days.
*Lincoln Ave Swimming Pool Renovations (phase 2). This will include renovations to locker rooms and kiddie pool among other things at a cost of about $847,000. This work is being done none to soon.
*Hilltop Drive Drainage Improvements between Summit Ct. and Kay Ct. Currently being designed.
*Triangle Elementary School Joint Use Playground & Park. This will be a cooperative effort with Lake County Schools. It has been very slow in coming but I recently attended a meeting and I'm hopeful this could actually happen with construction in the summer of 2022. This is budgeted for about $1 million.
*Overlook Dr. Baffle Box should improve stormwater flow on Overlook Dr. that drains into Lake Gertrude. The cost is estimated at $176,000.
You've probably heard that our Governor has just issued an Executive Order that precludes cities and counties from mandating masks among other things going forward. Individual business owners may still require masks to be worn in their buildings. Mount Dora will continue to recommend social distancing and masks to be worn inside our buildings but we can't require it.
We approved the final reading of our Land Development Code Amendments by a 5-2 vote (Pam Burtnett and Doug Bryant voted "no"). We had discussions and considered 2 proposed amendments which were defeated by 5-2 votes. I've gotten several emails recently from citizens who are concerned about increasing building heights in the down town area from 35' to 55'. To be clear, what we approved today would only allow a parking structure to exceed 35'. P&Z will be reviewing other possible changes in building heights in upcoming meetings but as of right now the only building that could exceed 35' in the downtown area would be a parking garage.
Our long time City Clerk, Gwen John has decided to resign. Gwen's mother is elderly and in memory care. Gwen would like to spend more time with her mom as well as her granddaughter. We will miss Gwen but her family should come first.
The quote I'd like to share with you today comes from the late comedian George Carlin. "Just 'cause you got the monkey off your back does not mean the circus has left town".