City hires new security guard for City Hall


Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 11:50 p.m.
A new, unarmed security guard started patrolling the City Hall lobby this week in the latest attempt by officials to improve safety at the building.
"There have been a few incidents here at City Hall that we felt warranted more security," said Gainesville Communications and Marketing Manager Bob Woods, who is overseeing the program. Among those incidents have been residents who have made threatening statements to commissioners or other employees and crimes in and around City Hall.
The city opted to hire a private security company to guard City Hall rather than put a Gainesville Police Department officer in the building in order to keep costs down, Woods said. The private security guard, from the same firm hired to guard Gainesville Regional Utilities' downtown headquarters, will cost about $30,000 a year, he said.
The guard is just the latest security-related change officials have made at City Hall. The changes, which followed a rash of crimes including the theft of Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan's wallet from her office, included using more lights and moving concrete planters that would prevent a car from driving up City Hall's steps.
City officials plan to make changes to the City Hall lobby to make it more secure, though there are no final plans for the project, Woods said.
Officials will review the impact of the guard in six months to determine whether the service is still needed.
  • What's in a name? The Gainesville Sports Commission is the new name of the Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee, the group announced recently.
    Meanwhile, the purchase of Diamond Sports Park by the Alachua County School District earned awards for the School Board, Superintendent Dan Boyd and Newberry Recreation Director Richard Blalock, who will operate the park.
    The new name and logo were unveiled at the group's annual banquet last week, at which the awards were given. Executive Director Jack Hughes said the new name more accurately reflects the organization's task of luring sporting events to the county.
    "For many of the events we go after, the people are familiar with the term 'sports commission' so on a national competitive basis, it makes sense for us to say we are a sports commission," Hughes said.
  • Big sports: It can be tricky trying to honor the University of Florida football team.
    The Gainesville city and Alachua County commissions are meeting jointly next Monday and will recognize the Gators' recent national championship together.
    They hope to land somebody notable from the team or University Athletic Association and believe their chances are better if they do it together rather than have two separate tributes.
    "If we have them separately we run the risk of not getting someone and they run the risk of offending one of us," County Manager Randall Reid said at an informal County Commission meeting last week.
  • Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top