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LIVE OAK — Three years after purchasing the property — and then having it cleared — the Live Oak Community Redevelopment Agency is moving forward with its plan to redevelop the site.

CRA Executive Director Gabrielle Redfern told the CRA board at its virtual June 23 meeting that the city was going to run a 30-day notice of intent to develop the property to attract potential developers.

“I am thrilled to bring you the first step of developing that property,” Redfern told the board about the site next the Heritage Trail off of Howard Street that has been rezoned to residential with the goal of building a housing development that has eight units.

From that step, Redfern said staff would bring the board a list of potential developers that have the ability to make that housing development a reality. She said the board would then choose a developer and negotiations would then begin between staff and the developer.

In response to board member Bruce Tillman, Redfern said that the development wouldn’t have to be single stories, so townhouses could be a possibility.

During its meeting, the board also approved awarding facade grants to Linton Carroll Enterprises and North Florida Printing for work on the outside of their buildings at the corner of Howard Street (U.S. 90) and Ohio Avenue (U.S. 129) and Conner Street and Tuxedo Ave.

Carroll’s building — the Lewin Building — which houses Insurance World as well as Totally Covered Computers, will be pressure washed and painted as well as have holes in the mortar filled and priming all the brickwork. Redfern added that the sign arm hanging over Totally Covered Computers will be removed and the owner will look into installing awnings over that bay similar to the one above Insurance World.

“It will better restore the building to its historic appearance,” Redfern said.

At North Florida Printing, the building will also be pressure washed and repainted with new signage and, possibly, murals of a historic steam engine added to two sides of the building.

The board also approved awarding a bid to North Florida Professional Services and McInnis Services for construction of a restroom facility at Heritage Park in the amount of $85,379.

Redfern said after the board’s approval, staff will discuss design criteria with the developer who will then submit one design and construction plan. The CRA and Parks & Rec will then be given a chance to revise the design/plan once.

Ron Williams, the city manager, and Redfern said the city is looking into two different options for providing sewer lines to the restroom, one that could provide services to houses in the area.

Board begins budget process

Following its regular board meeting, the CRA also held its first budget workshop, including a discussion of a request from the Friends of Heritage Park & Gardens.

The Friends are requesting for $20,000 of the park’s appropriation from the CRA — $50,000 — to be used on upgrading plumbing in the workshop building at Heritage Park & Gardens.

Robert Ford, a board member with the Friends, said the workshop building upgrades are a two-phase project and will include electrical upgrades next year.

The building is used for educational purposes by community groups, including the Live Oak Artists Guild and the Master Gardeners from UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension.

Redfern told the board that the budget will likely be smaller than the current year’s budget, mainly due to not carrying as much funding for unfinished projects forward.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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