The Voice of the Gem City

News September 24, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill continues to look at making former Jenkins Middle School on north 19th Street the Palatka City Government campus. At Thursday’s Palatka City Commission meeting he announced he’ll be going to the Putnam County School Board on Oct. 5 to make his request. Exactly what offices would be moved and how or if the city would pay for the property weren’t specified. Hill, who has talked about moving all offices under one roof to the northside property, requested fellow commissioners to join him. “I need you guys standing there with me,” Hill said, calling the property a “great opportunity.” No one answered him. Three of the five commissioners work for the School District. The city recently bought the old Jenkins gym and several attached offices for $10 from the district. This year and next they have scheduled $370,000 in work on the structure including new air conditioning, roof and sprinkler system. 

Palatka city commissioners are moving toward a new salary schedule for workers. At Thursday’s meeting they gave the okay to a plan that means every worker for the city will make at least $13 an hour. That puts them on target to reach the $15 an hour wage approved by Florida voters and set to go into effect in 2026. So far the city is looking at an increase of more than $380,000 in salary-related costs. New salaries are based in part on new salary schedules and some new titles. 

What was expected to be a simple repair on storm water lines on a portion of a major east-west corridor road in Palm Coast turned into a major project after a portion of the line collapsed. A new trench must be dug in order to replace the pipes. Work won’t start until Sept. 27 and completion will be around Oct. 11 with the work being done in-house. All traffic is barred on Royal Palms Parkway from Belle Terre Parkway to Rickenbacker Drive.

The grounds of the Bronson-Mulholland House in the North Historic District of Palatka are filled with yellow school buses and children today as the Putnam County Historical Society hosts the annual Occupation of Palatka 1864. The event involves a number of re-enactors, both soldiers and civilians, who offer a slice of what life was like in the area during the Civil War. The event continues Saturday with the public invited to tour the open-air encampments and the Bronson-Mulholland House at 100 Madison Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. At St. Mark’s Episcopal Church across the way, a Tea with the Queen (Victoria, that is) is being held as a fund-raiser for the church on Saturday.

At the Larimer Arts Center on Reid Street tonight, enjoy the Arts Council of Greater Palatka’s High Life Jazz Series with the Culture Shifters. It’s the band’s first performance and includes several professional musicians from New York as well as Buffalo Munn from East Palatka. Performance is from 7-9 p.m. with tickets $15 at the door.

In Hastings the Rotary Club of Hastings hosts Hello Fall! Supper Truck Saturday & Main Street Market Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In St. Augustine the Sing Out Loud Festival holds its third and final weekend today through Sunday at Colonial Oak Music Park on St. George Street, St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Anastasia Island and several lounges around the city. Music is free. On Sunday the annual St. Augustine Record Fair is from 10-3 and includes vinyl records, CD, music memorabilia and stereo equipment. There’s even an animal band for kids.

On Saturday the GTM Research Reserve at Ponte Vedra Beach hosts a free Estuary Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with family-friendly events. The Jerk and Curry Music Festival celebrates the food, culture and music of the Caribbean from 2 to 10 pm Saturday at Francis Field.

Best of all, the weather is expected to be terrific this weekend.

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