Alachua’s Scenic Preservation: “Micanopy’s Tuscawilla Road gets scenic label”

Alachua’s Scenic Preservation: “Micanopy’s Tuscawilla Road gets scenic label”

Photo: Alachua County
” County commissioners voted to designate it as a scenic road, allowing it additional protections and regulations.

Alachua County got its first scenic road designation since 2004 — the county’s sixth overall — Tuesday, with Micanopy’s Tuscawilla Road.

County commissioners voted unanimously to give the designation to the two-lane road between Cholokka Boulevard in the Micanopy town limits and U.S. Highway 441, which brings the road additional protection.

Commissioners also voted on a different motion that would have granted an exception for a planned commercial property, a Dollar General, that would allow trucks weighing more than 25 tons to use the roadway for access. That motion failed 3-2, with commissioners Chuck Chestnut and Mary Alford in favor of the exception.

‘I support the scenic highway, but now I’m not sure of what rights we have to do this,’ Chestnut said of limiting access to the planned business. “So I’m just going to leave my comments at that. I’m not in favor of any other development … but I do feel different about this one because they went through the process and now we’re making it a scenic highway. I just feel fishy about it…’

Tusawilla Road meets several of the criteria for designation, as outlined by the county, including scenic, archaeological and historical significance. Its located about 5 miles south of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, and the location of the Village of Cuscowilla and William Bartram’s visit in 1774.

A Native American preserve is located on the road within town limits and is a protected area, purchased by the Town of Micanopy with state funding. Other research on the Battle of Micanopy documents significant sites on private land in the vicinity, an attraction for tourists.

Whooping cranes, sandhill cranes and gopher tortoises are among some of the wildlife that inhabit the area.

The road has been designated as one segment of a state scenic highway since June 2001.

The designation protects the area along the corridor within 100 feet of the right of way, and any new commercial activity is prohibited within the protected area.

Most outdoor advertising signs and overhead utilities are also prohibited…

There are five other county roads that carry the scenic road designation: Millhopper Road, Fort Clarke Church Road, Crown Road, Old Bellamy Road and Dusty Trail.”

— Emily Mavrakis, The Gainesville Sun

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“Florida wildflower mural covers up graffiti on wall of downtown Crestview bakery café”

“Florida wildflower mural covers up graffiti on wall of downtown Crestview bakery café”

Photo: Christina Donahon
“In Crestview’s historic downtown distract, native Floridian wildflowers are sprouting on the side of a popular bakery café.

The mural on Back Home Bakery Café’s rear side wall is a collaborative effort between building owner Kimberley Howard, bakery owner (and Kimberley’s mom) Dorene Howard, local State Farm Insurance agent Tiffany Woodham, and muralist Christina Donahon.

Inspiration for the mural began when Police Chief Stephen McCosker, City Manager Tim Bolduc and Community Development Services staff began the current ongoing effort to address blight, including graffiti, a scourge that had hit the Bake Home Bakery rear side wall.

‘It started with graffiti we had to cover up,’ Dorene Howard said. ‘Tiffany came to us awhile back and asked if she could help.’

‘I felt we should do a downtown beautification project of some sort,’ Woodham said. ‘I want to help make downtown pretty. Kimberley and I met and we discussed what the design should be and Florida wildflowers came up. We wanted to do something that people would like and would want to take their pictures in front of…’

While the Howards painted out the graffiti, Woodham, who funded the project, engaged Donahon’s talents to realize their concept of a Florida wildflowers motif…

‘We wanted to do something to help beautify Crestview,’ Dorene Howard said. ‘We’re doing our part to make Crestview look good.'”

— Brian Hughes, City of Crestview in

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A Historic Look At A Complete Streets Project: Anna Maria’s Scenic Intersection Across Decades

A Historic Look At A Complete Streets Project: Anna Maria’s Scenic Intersection Across Decades

Before: Michael Wallwork, P.E.

After: Michael Wallwork, P.E.

27 Years of Beauty: Michael Wallwork, P.E.

Built in the 90s, a landscaped roundabout intersection in Bradenton Beach continues to showcase tropical foliage, is decorated during the holidays and continues to provide features for pedestrians and bike rider’s safety.

— Michael Wallwork, P.E. Alternate Street Design, P.A.
Alternate Street Design, P.A.

St. Petersburg: “EDGE District Sculpture Turns Heads”

St. Petersburg: “EDGE District Sculpture Turns Heads”

Photo: Abby Baker
“Drivers and sidewalk-goers in downtown St. Petersburg have likely speculated about the 30-foot, stone sun sculpture that shrinks surrounding buildings and its platform, a roundabout in the city’s bustling EDGE district.

New York-based and Isreali-born sculptor, Ilan Averbuch, created the massive, gear-like fixture for the otherwise-normal roundabout at Central Avenue at 11th Street.

Averbuch, one of 94 creators who applied to create on the space, calls the sculpture an ode to Florida weather, titled ‘The Sun on the EDGE.’ The piece was completed in June, with a city-led ribbon cutting on Thursday, July 15.

The industrial, almost primitive statue of a sunset, bottomed with a darkened granite and steel partial reflection, gives those passing through Central no choice but to circle the sun.

The head-turning aspect is exactly what Averbuch wanted.

‘It’s wonderful to be in the center of town where all the traffic has to slowly make their way around,’ Averbuch said. ‘It’s sort of like a stage.’

The stone sun’s price tag sits at nearly $200k, pulled from the Intown West CRA tax increment funds approved for streetscape improvements…”

— Abby Baker, The Gabber

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“Bonita Springs wants private development, water access and more on riverfront land”

“Bonita Springs wants private development, water access and more on riverfront land”

Photo: Alex Driehaus, Naples Daily News, USA Today – Florida Nework

“A two-hour Bonita Springs City Council workshop on Wednesday ended with a 17-item design guide for developers interested in 5 acres along the Imperial River…

The property sits on Old 41 Road and straddles the Imperial River, and councilors regard it as the most important piece of undeveloped land downtown.

They were left with a list of 17 features they would like to see on the property. All developer applications will be tested against the guidelines. Councilors want to see all unsolicited design bids during a July 21 meeting when they could approve a plan.

The list tells developers what City Council does and does not want on the property. Unsolicited property applications made to the city did not have a concrete guideline to follow.

A previous workshop last month had tangents and varying opinions. Some councilors wanted to leave details in the hands of developers. Others wanted to be specific. Mayor Rick Steinmeyer wanted to keep the land as a city-owned park.

A facilitator, Ken Tinkler, guided councilors through the process and kept discussion on track. He began the workshop by reminding councilors how long the property has sat undeveloped under city ownership.

‘You’ve been at this for 6,683 days,’ Tinkler said. ‘A child born that day just graduated high school or maybe finished their first year of college.’

The ideas were all high level, allowing developers leeway to design around the features. All councilors agreed on some core ideas, first and foremost being public park space.

‘We need public access along the (Imperial River),’ Councilor Mike Gibson said.

Other public features, including parking, commercial space and ‘destination’ businesses, topped the list.

Residential units should be integrated in proposed designs, but only for people that will live in the buildings permanently, City Council stated.

‘People that are going to be there most of the year, that are going to take advantage of everything that’s downtown, that will frequent the businesses and make it more attractive for businesses to be downtown,’ Gibson said…

Before the workshop, four presentations were made to City Council. Design plans by three developers showcased commercial spaces, parks and about 100 residential units. They proposed public-private partnerships, mostly by letting the city own and operate any public park space. One plan called for a long-term lease of the land.

Charlie Strader, former president of the Bonita Springs Historical Society, gave a presentation against major development and presented ideas for a public park and event space.

Public speakers asked councilors to vote against any plans with residential units.

‘I would implore that you guys consider a museum, attraction, a Seminole village, an assortment of other options for the Bonita property other than residential housing and a mall,’ said John Paeno, owner of CGT Kayaks.”

— Thaddeus Mast, Naples Daily News

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City of Bonita Springs