What Are Our Community’s Most Pressing Infrastructure Needs?

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Chamber’s i3 Initiative Engages the Public

Last fall, the Chamber convened the Putting Children First Infrastructure Investment Initiative (i3) with a diverse group of citizens on a committee tasked with identifying the most pressing infrastructure needs in our community, and importantly, identifying the best way to fund those needs.

The i3 Steering Committee wasted no time and, over the last few months, has engaged with stakeholders throughout our community, meeting with the School Board of Alachua County, the Alachua County Sheriff, the City of Gainesville’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Alachua County’s Department of Public Works, as well as with both City and County Commissioners.

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, the Committee presented findings to-date at a Public Meeting, held at the Alachua County Senior Recreation Center. Brian Scarborough, i3 Steering Committee Chair, advised the gathered audience of citizens and public officials that – based on research done so far – the community’s schools and roads infrastructure needs rehabilitation, and the public safety radio system connecting emergency responders, hospitals, the school board and other organizations is outdated, sometimes resulting in first responders having to use their personal cellphones to communicate.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and her staff followed with a presentation highlighting just how critical the public safety need is–during recent incidents at a local high school and in a residential community, deputies at the scenes were unable to connect with dispatchers at multiple critical moments.

Audience members then broke into small groups to share their views on community infrastructure needs and how to fund those. The feedback will be assembled as part of the Steering Committee’s final report, expected late summer.

We urge you to be part of this process, two additional i3 Public Meetings are planned during the coming months. Watch for the announcements and tell us what you think. For more information about i3, contact Vicki Gervickas, Chamber Grassroots Engagement Manager, at vicki@gainesvillechamber.com

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