Seminole, Gator towns tie in energy conservation

Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 10:42 p.m.

The Gators might have whopped the Seminoles in football, but Gainesville and Tallahassee tied in the Energy Conservation Challenge.

In 2007 Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan challenged Tallahassee Mayor John Marks to see which city could make the most progress in four areas: the distribution of electricity-saving compact fluorescent lights, the installation of solar photovoltaic panels, the installation of solar-powered water heaters and household ceiling insulation improvements.

“Of course we would have loved to hoist a trophy in the air over those Seminoles,” said Hanrahan in a media release. “It’s great that the citizens of both Gainesville and Tallahassee will end up winning by saving energy and saving money.”

Gainesville led with the most solar photovoltaic panels, 254 killawatts, and the most solar-powered water heaters with 31 units; however, Tallahassee won the light bulb distribution with 116,904 bulbs and improved ceiling insulation in 1,393 homes.

Moment in the sun: After months of lobbying the City of Gainesville to dedicate itself as “The Butterfly City,” Gabriel Hillel will finally get his moment in the sun this week.

The City Commission will consider his proposed butterfly designation on Thursday, a designation that he hopes will become like the Tree City dedication with Gainesville developing criteria.

Hillel, an artist who has also been a journalist and a lawyer, said he envisions butterflies at the airport and on city signs.

But he is not content with how the city worded his agenda item.

“The concept of ‘The’ first butterfly city is critical,” Hillel said. “It puts the focus on the city being the first butterfly city. ‘A’ butterfly city is an entirely different thing. The article is critical.”

Hillel has even started his own blog about his proposed city designation.

“My sense was that this place, it just did not have the creative city idea,” said Hillel. “It’s like you want a winning team, so you’re the cheerleader.”

Debate over newberry village: Charettes, those exercises in planning in which people spend hours discussing a particular topic and writing suggestions on big sheets of paper taped to walls, will soon return.

A three-day charette will be held to discuss the controversial Newberry Village, a mixed-use development that is set to be built on Newberry Road.

Newberry Village was opposed by many residents and, initially, by the state because of the impact it will have on traffic. But Alachua County commissioners approved the project after the developers agreed to pay to help create what will be the county’s first bus rapid transit system.

The sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 11-13 at Santa Fe College. Presenters will include representatives of the developer, the county’s Growth Management Department, the Gainesville Regional Transit System, the Florida Department of Transportation and others.

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