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City dumps mulch on skate park, families clean it up

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

On the same day Tampa announced it will open its skate parks this weekend, the City of Gainesville spread dump trucks full of mulch all over the Possum Creek skate park today.

Parents arrived with skaters and were astonished that the park, which they had just used yesterday, was suddenly unusable. One parent told me that, with everything closed, the skate park had been a valuable outlet for her son’s energy. Parents and skaters quickly organized, sending people home for push brooms. Word spread on social media, and people who didn’t even skate arrived to help.

While skaters swerved around the mulch, parents pushed it into piles. Gainesville Police Department officers arrived a little after 7:00 p.m., but they only made sure nobody took any of the mulch.

The group worked until sunset, when officers told them the park was closed. There was a rumor that the city was going to come back with sand tomorrow, and the skaters said they would just come back and remove it.

City Manager Lee Feldman, who directed City workers to deliver and spread the mulch, said, “Open-air fields and trails are available for recreation at Possum Creek Park. At this phase in our reopening strategy, we continue to restrict access to high-touch areas and surfaces, including playgrounds, pavilions, and skate ramps. While we are making adjustments to certain park restrictions, we are doing so in a way that will help to ensure the health and safety of our community. That means having mechanisms and/or staffing in place to enforce rules and social distancing practices in accordance with our phase one reopening.”

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  • The City Manager needs to find better things to do with her time. A waste if tax payers money when you look at the number of city employees it took to so this, the number of dump trucks are well as other equipment. The best part is the city workers were not social distancing nor wearing masks.

    • Yes you are correct the City Mayor and City Commission should have been arrested weeks ago.

    • The city is not going to arrest its own employees. Poe and his fellow Commissars are not interested in anything but power; as much as they can get.

    • The city manager and Mayor should be forced to resign. The people who cleaned up the mulch are true Americans.

  • Ask questions about the drains in this skate park that may be clogged now and fail to work going forward. This is more costly than they know. Skaters can easily social distance.

    • Yes, think what a mess if those pools fill up with water this summer. Can you say hazard, danger of accidental drowning?? Do these people even have the capacity to think??

  • It’s time to take back this city vote all of them out. These people are a disgrace they waste money every day.Kids need thing to do. Thank you to the people who clean this mess up.

  • Arrest the city manager or at least put all the mulch on his driveway.

  • There were probably better ways of enforcing the restrictions, like barriers. The fact is the “over the top” reaction to dump resources, like mulch, thinking it would stop people, is a “dramatic” move, not necessarily a smart move. They could have even talked to folks prior to reacting in such a way and ask them for solutions and inform them, rather that just slap up a sign and then surprising them and ruining the park’s drainage and ecosystem. The City Manager is not the person at fault. He just is completing the order given to him by the Board of City Commissioners and Mayor.

    • The City Manager has the authority under the emergency order to make decisions like this. The Mayor has no more authority than other commissioners, and they must act in public, as a body. The city commission has not discussed this topic.

  • Once again Government is showing it knows better than the People. Very POOR judgement on part of City Manager and evening worse, he says he made the decision in a unilateral manner. Alachua County and the City continue to make decisions for us…even if there is NO BASIS for their decision (e.g. face masks required).
    I for one want to make my own decisions whether it be to allow my Children to skateboard or if I want to wear a mask.
    I’m sure proud of the Citizens that stood to the Vity Manager…Each of You Duda GREAT JOB!
    Cheers,
    BlueWaterSailor

  • it seems the only thing city government has learned during this Bioweapon attack (call it what it is) is how to waste money, waste it dumping sand / mulch into skate parks, waste it using the entire police department to have drive by birthday parades or in some cases entire sheriff departments INCLUDING a freaking helicopter because god help us if kids today have to do without a party… and god forbid kids went outside and played in the PARKS that would be the end of the world. SMDH

  • Wow, this sounds like it’s teenagers running the city. This sounds like something a 16 or 17 year-old, mad at their parents and they’re trying to get even. Look how much money they spent by getting that much and taking it out there and spreading it. Why not calling a meeting like adults and open it up to the public online.I know I am consider newbies to this area. But I have worked with city planners, worked with the state involved with many other things all the way up to the White House. And I have never heard of leaders acting like this.
    Maybe if they had more,one on one with Gainesville residence and even the schools and talked to them and all come together and make the plan for the best for everyone. I don’t understand why they couldn’t open it and let so many people in at a time. They can wear their mask it would be outside in the open with fresh air, people could wash their hands use sanitizers for hands and use gloves. I’m sure they could get volunteers to spray the area and wash it down and sanitizer if they tried. The people in charge of the park, should put garbage cans out there so they could put their discarded gloves in and their sanitize wipes in.
    The more I read seems like The city of Gainesville has a little group of leaders that doesn’t have a clue what’s going on outside their doors. There’s more mental health damage to these children and families being done
    by Being confined to their homes and in their yards a small amount. Some people live in apartments they can’t afford a house.
    This is only my opinion, so I don’t need any hateful comments. I’m not sure if we can still have an opinion anymore without being thrown in jail, are threatened by a fine. I’m sure tax money go into these parks from residence,yet they have no say so.
    I am glad I live in a small town where we can go to our city manager‘s office and sit in a rocking chair and discuss things with him, or our commissioner leaders of our small city,we can make appointment and go in and talk to them.Even with this Virus we can always sit 6 feet apart wear a mask and have a conversation.
    Our leaders would never do something like this without putting the word out to our little town residences to let us know in advance if something like this will be happening. You don’t go to a park one day with two or three people and then go back the next day and this is what you see. Personally I would go higher up than them to discuss the situation. Maybe you should give the governor call.
    Someone of this post said that the city was going back tomorrow to do it again, and then you guys,come back and do it again that sounds pretty childish to me. Instead of fight with those people get a petition up take a trip to Tallahassee you can’t keep going back-and-forth on this.
    Again this is only my opinion.

  • They’ve also opened parks but put fencing around picnic benches. Gainesville and Alachua County have moved from “prudent precautions” to “stick it in your eye” actions.

  • Why would anyone here endorse the actions of the City Manager when it has been shown that the virus does poorly in sunshine, heat and humidity. These kids *should* be out of doors. We should all be getting outside as much as possible.

  • This is what Liberal Totalitarianism looks like. I drive to Orange Park or through Gainesville to Ocala to shop because of the lunatics on this City Council. Not supporting this City with my money or business.

  • City officials should be ashamed of themselves for believing they know better than parents do about how to take care of their kids. I hope you all don’t re-elect these people.

  • Money is not a factor for Alachua county. Remember where your property tax increase went next vote, It went to genius things like this.

  • I guess the city could not find enough toilet paper. What a childish thing to do. Sorry this happened!

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