The Voice of the Gem City

News May 11, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

While some high schools are talking spring football, state high school softball playoffs and the state field and track meet are on local athletes’ minds. The first round of girls’ softball playoffs are today and Thursday with Matanzas High School from Flagler County playing Jacksonville’s Paxon today at Daytona Beach in Region 1-4A. In Palatka Peniel Baptist Academy is playing St. Johns County Day today at Rotary Field. On Thursday Creekside High in St. Johns County will play at Oakleaf in Region 1-7A and Ponte Vedra High is at Tallahassee Lincoln High. All games start at 7 p.m. In Gainesville high school state track and field are meeting with Class 1A and 2A competition. Local girls qualifying are Palatka’s Alleah Ford and TOrryence Poole. Poole won region shot put with a throw of 42-3. Tocoi Creek High’s Emily Flores is also competing. Local boys include Johnathan Givens and Jaeshaun White from Palatka High and Charles Allsup and Dylan Freet from Tocoi Creek.

Putnam County Commission remembered the late Jerry Bedenbaugh Tuesday naming a donated park in his honor. Bedenbaugh was a retired Florida Highway Patrol trooper and businessman. Judge Ed Hedstrom offered to donate the park at 125 West McCormick Road in East Palatka as long as it was named for Bedenbaugh. It was the site of the East Palatka Community Center.

For several years the City of St. Augustine has been seeking control of King Street in the historic downtown. On Monday they announced after negotiations the Florida Department of Transportation is giving them ownership of King Street from U.S. 1 east to Avenida Menendez, Cathedral Place and part of Cordova Street. That’s basically the corridor from U.S. 1 to the Bridge of Lions. WIth it will come $18 million in reimbursements for corridor improvements. The city has plans for King Street although they’re getting pushback from some residents over talk of mobility plans including making the old downtown more pedestrian friendly. That could include having cars park on the outskirts and people using shuttles. No workshops for people’s input have yet been set up. The city has to have a design by 2027 and have it completed by 2033.

Palatka City Commission meets Thursday at 6 p.m. with several ongoing items to be resolved. One is a second and final vote on approval of a brownfield designation for the old Florida Furniture/Wilson Cypress property on River Street. A development planned for the area ran into a citizen buzz saw at a recent planning board meeting. Also sought a decision on whether to put $35,000 into a pool at Family Life Center on Palatka’s Northside. Members of the church were before the board last month to seek help so they can reopen the facility to the public and provide space for youth programs. Commissioners also will be discussing and getting updates on the former Booker Park, Jenkins Middle School and Jenkins gym.

Putnam County holds an Agriculture Summit Friday at St. Johns River State College in Palatka. The free event features agripreneurs small to large, a chance to connect with local established farmers, sample some home-grown Tates and learn from vendors, panels and presentation. The event is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is host by UF IFAS Extension.

When you put out the mail on Saturday, put on some food also. It’s for the U.S. Postal Services’ Fill A Bag/Stamp Out Hunger food drive. That hasn’t been held since 2019 and COVID. All food needs to be non-perishable. Put it in the box or beside. All food stays within the community where it’s given.

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