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

Read entire article

“The past lives on: The old Key West jail will be a museum”

“The past lives on: The old Key West jail will be a museum”

Photo: In Keys Weekly
“The fifth version of the Key West jail in Jackson Square on Whitehead Street was built in 1892 after a fire had reduced much of the island’s commercial center to ashes a few years prior. With 18,000 residents at the time, the city of Key West was the most populous in Florida, and a stately and solid jail and courthouse was designed to symbolize that pride — not to mention provide a more fireproof facility.

An African-American child of slaves, Charles Fletcher Dupont was elected sheriff in 1888 and was helping to oversee the jail. In 1891, he prevented the attempted lynching of two pro-Spain Cubans accused of murdering a pro-independence Cuban.

Such stories are just the tip of the iceberg for the old Key West jail on Whitehead Street, and, fittingly, it is now in phase three of a renovation that will turn it into a museum, hopefully to open for the 2022-23 tourist season.

The project and construction were approved by the Monroe County commission at its April 21 meeting and is being guided by the Key West Art and Historical Society. The plan is to build a museum that recreates a circa-1900 jail experience and tells Monroe County history. Whitehead Street 500 block looking south from Courthouse about 1900. Monroe County Library Collection.”

— Charlotte Twine, Keys Weekly
Read entire article

Leesburg Historic Preservation: “Lee School plan gets planning and zoning blessing for multi-family housing”

Leesburg Historic Preservation: “Lee School plan gets planning and zoning blessing for multi-family housing”

Photo: Cindy Peterson
“…While the main building will stand, other buildings will be razed on the five-acre site, including a large brick building just north of the main building…

Plans meet four city goals and requirements…remove blight, fit in with the city’s Historic District, and be compatible with the Downtown Master Plan and surrounding zoning.

Currently, the rundown buildings are an eyesore and a sometime home for vagrants and homeless people.

The back-and-forth sales and proposals for the old school site are almost as historic as the building, which was erected in 1915.

Former mayor and president of the Leesburg Heritage Society, Sanna Henderson, is onboard with the plan.”

— Frank Stanfield, Daily Commercial
Read entire article

Legislative Alert: Florida bills could bar local government design review and authority for residential buildings

Legislative Alert: Florida bills could bar local government design review and authority for residential buildings

“One of 1000 Friends’ foundational priorities is to help build better communities in Florida.

But SB 284 /HB 55, entitled Building Design, would take yet another tool away from local governments. This legislation seeks to remove local government authority to regulate building design in many areas, although designated local historic districts, Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) districts, and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) are exempt.

The bill would:

• Take away the authority of local governments to work with citizens to protect the character of certain neighborhoods and districts important to the community’s character.

• Undermine local economic development efforts that capitalize on the unique character of distinctive areas in the community.

• Remove the ability of neighborhoods and local governments to promote neighborhood reinvestment through maintaining neighborhood character.”

— 1000 Friends of Florida

Read entire article

Editorial: “Give thanks for Jacksonville’s history, natural beauty”

Editorial: “Give thanks for Jacksonville’s history, natural beauty”

Photo: Scenic Jacksonville Facebook
“There is so much to be thankful for in Jacksonville.

What comes to mind immediately includes beautiful natural resources and an incredible history.

The natural resources are dominated by water.

The majestic St. Johns River widens into an estuary as it nears the Atlantic Ocean.

The Intracoastal Waterway has its own unique ecology that you can appreciate from water level. Crossing a bridge at twilight, the setting sun acts like a spotlight, turning the marshes into a soft palette of colors.

The tributaries of the river criss-cross the city. Two of the most prominent near Downtown, Hogans Creek and McCoys Creek, are being rediscovered with an aggressive nonprofit, Groundwork Jacksonville, leading the way…

Look at a map of Duval’s major parks and many of them are located around the outer edges of the county. That is about to change, however. Once the Emerald Trail is completed, there will be 30 miles of urban pathways around Downtown that are linked to the riverwalk. And once the pedestrian walkway is completed alongside the Fuller Warren Bridge, the riverwalks will have a sky-high connection.

Meanwhile, there are plans to expand access along the St. Johns River Downtown. There is much empty space along the Northbank. Plans for a series of riverfront parks are being advanced by Riverfront Parks Now, a group of influential advocates. Public access that began with the Southbank Riverwalk in the 1980s is now coming to fruition.

On the Southbank, plans for a massive mixed-use development at the site of the former Southside Generating Station will include an extension of the riverwalk that wraps around the back of the riverfront development.

Jacksonville’s incredible history

The Times-Union Editorial page has been campaigning for a better appreciation of Jacksonville history, especially the history of our Black native sons and daughters…

The stories are fascinating.

Jacksonville — a city of natural beauty and beautiful people”

— Florida Times-Union Editorial Board
Read entire article
More news about this project and MOSH relocation
Read Scenic Jacksonville on proposed Metropolitan Park

Citizens for a Scenic Florida