Supervisor of Elections Office mulls over possible new locations


Published: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 5:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 5:09 p.m.

The future home of the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office could be an old Albertsons. Or a now-defunct Scotty’s hardware store. Or even a blank slate of property where a new office could be built.

Facts

Possible locations for supervisor's office

- Coldwell Banker Commercial; Heat Pipe Technology building at Airport Industrial Park
- Bosshardt Realty Services LLC; shopping center at North Main Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue.
- Kin Properties; old Albertsons supermarket near the corner of Northwest 13th Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue.
- Saul Silber Properties LLC; former Sticks 'N' Stuff furniture store on the corner of Northwest 13th Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue.
- 5440 Group LLC; former Scotty's hardware store on Northwest 13th Street near NW 53rd Avenue.
- Synergy Design Build LLC; property at 4215 NW 6th St.

These possibilities are among the six proposals the county has received for the office’s relocation, Purchasing Manager Larry Sapp said. Staff will evaluate the proposals and likely conduct site visits to determine which option would best suit the needs of the supervisor’s office. Then negotiations can begin.

The county aims to have the supervisor’s office moved into a new space by December.

“That is a very short time-frame,” Sapp said.

County staff, including Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter, will review the proposals, Sapp said. There isn’t a specific deadline by which the proposals need to be evaluated, but the county will be moving quickly as it strives for its December move-in goal.

The elections office has been aware of most of the proposed buildings for a while, Carpenter said.

“I’m excited that we have the opportunity to be in this search so early in the year, and I’m anxious to begin visiting the sites,” she said.

Some proposals suggested now-vacant stores, including a former Albertsons supermarket and a former Sticks ‘N’ Stuff furniture store, both of which are on Northwest 13th Street.

One company, Synergy Design Build LLC, offered a piece of property located at 4215 NW Sixth St. where a new building could be constructed to house the supervisor’s office.

When evaluating the various locations, Carpenter will be looking for things like a loading dock area and generous parking for early voters and poll workers. She’ll also consider the traffic pattern near the buildings to determine if it will allow people to get to the office easily as they pick up and drop off precinct supplies during elections. Accessibility for residents, such as nearby sidewalks and bus stops, will also be a factor.

Her office and the county as a whole will evaluate the potential locations for their respective criteria and will hopefully find a place that meshes their desires for the new office, she said. She hopes the county will organize site visits quickly since she will have less time for them as the spring Gainesville City Commission election nears.

“We’re really excited that the county is so focused on this project,” she said. “It’s been a long time.”

The office has requested more space since before she took over as supervisor in 2005. Six or seven years ago, staff moved into the Star Garage, spreading the office across three locations.

The new office, however, should combine all the supervisor of elections’ services, from voter registration to poll training, in one destination that residents can visit.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gvillesun.com.

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