This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Palatka city officials have “made a proposal” to the Putnam County School District to purchase the former Jenkins Middle School, according to Mayor Terrill Hill at Thursday’s City Commission meeting. Although Hill has talked about the 37-acre site on North 19th Street as a new city government complex, the matter has never been discussed in public at a commission meeting. Asked about that after Thursday’s meeting, Hill said following the school board presentation on Tuesday at 6 p.m. the city commission at their next meeting would vote and talk about it. Reminded that was not how citywide issues are normally handled, Hill told this reporter who was she to determine the process. A notice went out from the city this morning saying two or more commissioners might be at the school board meeting but no action would be taken by those city commissioners at the school board meeting. Three of Palatka’s five city commissioners work for the school district.
More residential growth is being proposed in St. Johns and Flagler counties. On Tuesday St. Johns County commissioners will look at a request to change land use of nearly 2,400 acres in northwest St. Johns County for SilverLeaf development. The land would go for up to 5,600 dwelling units and 250,000 square feet of commercial space. First the county must agree to send the project to the state for first review and then it would come back to the county for a review. The growing SilverLeaf development now runs fro County Road 210 to State Road 16. Flagler County’s planning board next Wednesday will be considering a rezoning and Future Land Use Map change to allow 217 single-family homes on property called Grand Reserve. It would be the third housing project proposed to go in the area near Palm Coast.
On Facebook, a $500 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest of whoever is involved in the vandalism of the Confederate memorial statue at the Putnam County Courthouse. Earlier this week, the words “slave owner” were found chalked at the base of the statue on St. Johns Avenue.
Lots happening this weekend as the public gets back out. In St. Johns County the St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club’s Rhythm and Ribs Festival returns today running through Sunday at Francis Field. Travis Tritt is the headliner for Saturday but live music can be heard all weekend. At the St. Johns County Fairground in Elkton on Saturday it’s the 62nd annual Cracker Day with arts and crafts, kids zone, barbecue and lots of horse events from 8 a.m. to late afternoon. In Putnam County, a busy Saturday. Florahome Fall Heritage Festival is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the town’s park on State Road 100. Expect an art show, arts and crafts, plants and honey as well as chicken dinners and the Interlachen Junior-Senior High School culinary department’s famous banana pudding. A Fly-In at Melrose Landing will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and include planes, live band and food and dessert trucks. The field is on Melrose Landing Drive in Hawthorne. American Legion Bert Hodge Post holds a rib sale and bake sale at Hitchcock’s Supermarket in East Palatka on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Putnam County EOC holds a barbecue chicken dinner from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their headquarters on State Road 19. Money goes to Brooke Bateman to help with her fight against cancer.
Plenty of high school football games on tonight but none more special than the one in Palatka between Palatka Junior-Senior High School and North Marion High. One hundred years ago today the first football team in Palatka played its first football game against Marion County. The team of 16 had five weeks to learn the game with some of the boys never having even seen a football game. Putnam High School, often known as Mellon High in honor of the man who made it a reality, owed their team to Principal W.H. Cassels who saw it as a way to build school spirit for the brand-new school. Graduates of Mellon are in Palatka this week holding reunions.