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Mayor says Gainesville is financially strong
City Council approves funding for improvements to Wessell Park
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Above: Gainesville Parks Division Manager Jeff Morrison describes future renovations for Wessell Park. Left: Improvement plans also include a new basketball court and tennis court.

Gainesville is in a strong financial position, said Mayor Danny Dunagan, who gave a state of the city address Tuesday evening at the City Council meeting.

The mayor said operating results, including revenues from local option sales taxes and permit fees, for fiscal year 2012 were the best the city has seen since 2008.

“We are more fortunate than many communities across the country, but I wouldn’t call it luck,” he said. “Our success is based, in part, on the relationships we have with neighboring cities, Hall County, our local legislative delegation, those of you who call Gainesville home and a team of dedicated employees who are constantly looking for ways to improve services.”

Dunagan cited several recent accomplishments of the city government, including establishing a tax allocation district for Lakeshore Mall, paving all or parts of 31 streets and the opening of the pedestrian bridge. His speech also highlighted completed commercial economic development projects and double-digit growth of single-family residential construction.

“The new year is another opportunity for each of us to work harder for the common good,” Dunagan said.

In other business, the council approved $175,000 in impact fee funds to demolish the historic Green Street Pool and make improvements to Wessell Park’s tennis and basketball courts. Gainesville Parks and Recreation plans to repair the multiuse courts at Wessell Park and install walls to deal with soil erosion. The dirt from those repairs will fill in the pool. The city will keep the pool building and do more improvements when more funding becomes available.

The work is scheduled to be completed in August.

City Council members also took a final vote on the new loitering ordinance. The approved amendment to the city’s code extends the law from public streets to public buildings and other property. The council approved procedures for adopting ordinances and several appointments to boards and committees. Councilman George Wangemann was appointed mayor pro tem.

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