Randy Wells: Investing in our neighborhoods and local economy
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.
Investing in our neighborhoods and local economy
We can continue to achieve an economically strong, environmentally rich and socially vibrant community.
On March 19, I am seeking re-election as Gainesville city commissioner for District 4. With your support, I pledge to continue bringing fresh ideas and a positive approach to my service.
Over the last three years, I have helped keep the city investing in our neighborhoods and local economy, while working to make city government more effective and responsive.
These investments are paying off as new businesses create jobs here, we work to ensure every neighborhood is a great place to live, and we continue protecting our natural resources.
I have fully supported Gainesville's partnerships in the innovation economy. To this end, I have been an advocate for a more efficient permitting system and dedicated staff to promote economic development. As chair of the Equal Opportunity Committee, I have worked to increase opportunities for small, local, minority and women-owned firms, because a fair marketplace benefits both taxpayers and local businesses
In response to citizen concerns about neighborhood code enforcement, I spearheaded the establishment of a special magistrate. Modeled on successful code enforcement departments elsewhere in Florida, a special magistrate will ensure more timely, consistent and transparent adjudication.
I have supported balanced transportation planning — to include better road maintenance and improved transit — for today's needs and tomorrow's growth. I have helped renew our city's focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety and connectivity. Such complete streets are vital to making every neighborhood livable. As chair of the regional planning council this year, I will work to build city and county consensus for dedicated transportation funding that is balanced and long-term.
Working together, we have made real, visible progress across the city. But there is still work to be done to ensure every citizen and neighborhood benefits.
Real opportunities exist to harness the intellectual and creative energy of our community. We should revitalize Gainesville's original incubator at the Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center in conjunction with Santa Fe College, support the nexus of creativity springing up on South Main Street, and pursue a "neighborhood incubator" and park at the old U.S. Army Reserve site.
I also am committed to turning the recently closed Gainesville Correctional Institution into a community campus for human services, job training, a small business incubator, and community building. This will be an ideal complement for the long-planned Grace Marketplace center for homeless services.
In all that I have done, I have remained open and respectful to all perspectives. I believe it is through public dialogue that we achieve balanced solutions that meet the varied needs of all our citizens.
Only with our combined efforts and collaboration can we continue to achieve an economically strong, environmentally rich and socially vibrant community. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can best invest in our city.
Randy Wells is one of three candidates for the District 4 seat on the Gainesville City Commission.
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