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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Richardson Community Center Improvement Grant Still in Limbo – Meeting Scheduled With DEO – City Manager Claims He’s Out of the Loop

Richardson Community Center

LAKE CITY, FL – As Monday’s City Council meeting was drawing to a close, the $2 mil federally funded Richardson Community Center Improvement Grant came front and center, yielding another Lake City dysfunction surprise.

Councilman Todd Sampson addressed City Manager Dyal, “Mr. Dyal, where are we on modifying the Richardson grant – it's been a couple of weeks. Are we any closer to getting that finalized?”

Mr. Dyal answered, “I have no idea. I was not directed to do anything with that grant. The County manager was directed to take care of that grant, not myself.”

Mr. Dyal continued, “I basically told him [County Manager Kraus], ‘It was assigned to you by my Council and approved by your board,’ so I was taken out of that loop.”

Councilwoman Chevella Young backed up City Manager Dyal, “That’s exactly what happened. I think we are waiting for Mr. Kraus, as we was [sic] before and never got a response. We have to hear from him.”

Lake City Did Get a Response

The value of the Richardson Community Center Improvement Grant is vital for the surrounding community and the iconic center.

City Manager Dyal knew or should have known, that DEO was working on a solution to the Richardson Community Center Improvement Grant issue and that County Manager Kraus did follow up.

Beginning on April 18, 2023, a series of emails between DEO’s Blake Rockwood of the Small Cities CDBG Program and County Manager Kraus, others from DEO, and both Mr. Dyal and Assistant City Manager Demetrius Johnson discussed the issues surrounding the Grant and the need for conference calls to iron out the issues.

On Friday, April 28, Mr. Dyal and Mr. Dee Johnson were in the DEO email loop, questioning the veracity of Mr. Dyal's statement to the City Council on Monday, "I was taken out of that loop.”

Assistant City Manager Johnson was also in discussion with City Manager Kraus before Monday's Council meeting, in which the grant status was discussed.

It is unknown if he ever said anything to the City Manager about that discussion.

Mr. Sampson concluded the Council's discussion for the evening, asking that County Manager Kraus be invited to the next City Council meeting to give it an update.


City Manager Paul Dyal is on record as opposed to the Richardson Community Center Improvement Grant.

The City Council, while first blindly backing Mr. Dyal’s opposition, changed its collective mind.

Mr. Dyal has never come off his position of opposition, either officially or unofficially, which could be affecting the outcome of the $2 mil award.

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