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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Waterfront Redevelopment Tonight:
Will the Public Be Shutout Again?


The poster board renderings were out of the public's view. City Manager Johnson: white shirt, seated, center.

LAKE CITY, FL – Carried over from the October 13  Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee (CRAC) meeting, City consultants Burl "Bo" Reardon of Tetra Tech and Timothy Green of Green Consulting Group arrived at the CRAC with poster boards showing the areas around Lake DeSoto under discussion. The City set up the meeting so that the renderings were visible only to the committee members. Once again, City Manager Johnson was at times, barely audible.

Planned in the Back Rooms of City Hall

City Manager Johnson kicked off the meeting by telling Mr. Reardon, "Touch on the staff meeting you had with the City staff and those kind a things that – I assume that's where you get your concept from to begin with."

Mr. Reardon answered, "Right." He explained that he was the engineer and then said, "After the staff meeting we're focused on this area." He pointed to the area.

No one from the public could see at what he was pointing.


The displays were set up only for the committee, which could see the public could not see them.                                                                       (Landscape Architect Green, standing)

Mr. Reardon turned the presentation over to Tim Green. Mr. Green announced that he was a landscape architect. Mr. Green also explained, "I met with staff."

Mr. Green explained various areas on the presentation boards, which no one, other that the committee, could see.

Mr. Green said, "I told your City Manager at our meeting, 'I like to take the ideas of everyone.'"

In Lake City, so far the latest upgrades contemplated around the Lake and funded by the people have the public and the CRAC out of the loop.

City Manager Johnson explained the purpose of tonight's meeting is for the Lake DeSoto project.

Mr. Johnson said, "It would be primarily to introduce the two concept plans that was formulated based on the staff review a few weeks back... that you don't know anything about."

Epilogue

Over time, actively keeping the public out of the loop has proven to be City Manager Wendell Johnson's modus operandi.

Maybe tonight the City Manager will be more accommodating. However, if he is, the lack of publicity and the cold shoulders may turn what should be a well attended and exciting event into another bust.

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