By Marc Crail District 4 City Council Representative
City Council had a full agenda so I've selected several of the items to share that I think you might like to hear about. Please keep in mind that I reporting from my own perspective only, not in any official capacity.
Throughout the pandemic we have tried to be flexible as we do our best to navigate the ever changing situations that we find ourselves and our city in. The Mount Dora Arts Festival is certainly one of the longest running and most loved events that we have in town. The Arts Festival is the single most important fundraising source for the Mount Dora Center for the Arts and it regularly brings over 100,000 visitors to town. Once people come to town for the Arts Festival they tend to come back later to shop, dine, stay and play here. The 2021 Arts Festival is scheduled for February 6-7. It will be smaller this year because some exhibitors and shoppers are reluctant to participate because of COVID-19. The City has agreed to forgo collecting event fees this year. With fewer booths it will be a bit easier to spread them out (10' apart) which will help with social distancing. Masks will be required. Food will be consumed only in a food court area. With these changes this event that is essential to the Arts Center and to our local economy will look different but we hope it can happen safely.
We approved a Resolution to add a couple of new businesses to the retail plaza near Target. A Panda Express drive through will be built there and another retail space will also be built.
You may recall that I've previously mentioned that the City is going to build two solar array fields in order to generate a total of about 6 Megawatts of electricity. Those solar arrays will be located on City owned land near Wastewater Treatment Plant II near the intersection of US Rt. 441 and SR 46 as well as near SR 19-A. Of course we will spend money to build them but we anticipate over $700,000 in cost savings over the 30 year lifespan of the solar farms. Good news I think.
We approved a Resolution to hire a company called CPH to create a citywide Transportation Master Plan. As new residential, commercial and retail developments are built it is critically important that we have traffic rules and regulations in place so that our City infrastructure is designed and constructed to handle the increased traffic. We want to have "smart growth" in Mount Dora and in order to do that our old 2007 master plan needs to be updated. It will take about a year and will cost us $200,000. I've been a big proponent of this project so I''m pleased that it is happening.
Every once in a while a Developer approaches the City with an unsolicited proposal for a Public Private Partnership called a P3. We're always interested in partnering if the proposal is beneficial to both Mount Dora and for the Developer.
There are costs involved for the City to reviewing P3 proposals. We are working on setting up some rules that will cover our costs while encouraging Developers to give us their best ideas. We're looking for win-win opportunities so we have begun to work on the parameters of P3s.
Remember that we will be voting on two Charter Amendments this year. City Council supports both of them. If you'd like more information before you vote visit: mountdoracharter2020.com
I've got a quote for you that I found on TheHealingMoon.com.
"The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest."
Please stay safe and stay well. Marc Crail District 4 City Council Rep.
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