Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

Lake City News

Lake City Upbeat About the Future of Downtown

LAKE CITY, FL – Last night's Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee (CRAC) meeting was an upbeat affair as it was reported by City Manager Wendell Johnson that the City's population had recently spiked above the 12,000 mark; there are now 15 new active site developments on the drawing board; and there is renewed interest in the downtown Blanche Hotel.

City Manager Johnson reported that a report from the University of Florida showed that the population of Lake City had gone over the 12,000 mark for the first time.

According to City Manager Johnson, Assistant City Manager Grayson Cason has been in touch with COSCO. Mayor Witt pointed out that he thought COSCO was in Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

City Manager Looking To Invest $1,000,000 in Downtown

City Manager Johnson is looking to put out a request for proposals to borrow $1,000,000 to invest in downtown development. He told the Observer that the cost involved in bonding makes going into the market place and getting a loan for the money the most economical approach. City Manager Johnson said The City's Community Redevelopment Authority, which is the City Council, will approve the expenditure plan.

The City's Growth Management Department prepared a list of active new site developments going on in the City. It was good news. City Manager Johnson told the Committee, "This is an indicator that things are picking up. Prior to this year, that piece of paper would have been blank. I hope this is a sign of things to come."

The Blanche Hotel May Be on the Drawing Board

City Manager Johnson reported on news of the Blanche Hotel. Talks are continuing from last year with a developer showing continued interest. CM Johnson said, "They have assured me they will send a development plan. At this point they've moved away from residential use and will focus strictly on retail and commercial – office space."

According to City Manager, the County's new Economic Development Director, Glenn Hunter, will be instrumental in bringing the County to the table with the City and getting the County committed to the project.

City Manager Johnson said about the Blanche development, "The only way they can do this project is to have a master lease with guaranteed occupancy. That's what we're going to have to strive for."

CM Johnson explained there is going to have to be a creative relationship between the City and the County. He said, "That's what it's going to take. It's going to be a government campus in downtown Lake City."

He continued, "These folks have done the same thing in Valdosta. They know what they're doing."

City Councilwoman Moses said, "It's exciting."

Comments (to add a comment go here

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.


     • Fair Use     • Privacy                              © ColumbiaCountyObserver.com