Northeast Florida Roundup
Innovative approach to water treatment reduces pollutants in stormwater and residual treated wastewater
The 60-acre Ocala Wetland Recharge Park reduces pollutants in stormwater and residual treated wastewater by diverting it into cells containing aquatic plants and microorganisms that clean the water. In addition to 2½ miles of walking trail and wildlife overlooks, the park has 20 educational signs and four permanent interactive exhibits that describe the flora and fauna that make use of the clean habitat and explain how water moves through the park.
This month, Ocala’s Water Resources Department will receive the National Innovation in Conservation award for its work at the park.
“The purpose of the park is three-fold,” says Rachel Slocumb, Ocala’s conservation coordinator. “To reduce nutrients and contaminants in the water; to recharge the aquifer with about 3 million gallons of super clean water every day; and for recreation.”
Though the innovative approach to water treatment was a factor in winning the conservation award, Slocumb says the educational component of the park was equally important. “You might have the coolest environmentally conscious park idea, but if you’re not telling people why it’s important, what’s the point?”
- Adventure Landing water park closed its westside location in Jacksonville in June and will close its Jacksonville Beach location by the end of October.
- Michigan-based Hagerty Group has acquired the classic-car show Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The event will continue to be managed out of its Jacksonville office, and founder Bill Warner will stay on as chairman emeritus.
- TIAA Bank in Jacksonville plans to lay off 48 employees in addition to the 300 it previously announced as it transitions its home-lending operations to PNC National Bank.
- The 55-plus adult community builder On Top of the World Communities has entered an agreement with Southwest Florida Water Management District to construct only Florida Water Star program homes over the next 20 years. The program provides standards for water efficiency for indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems.
- North Florida Land Trust helped Jacksonville expand McGirts Creek Preserve on three parcels totaling 61 acres. The property is predominantly oak and pine forest and helps protect the creek’s floodplain.
- Ocala Regional Medical Center has begun work on a $65-million expansion that will add more than 49,000 square feet for a neuro ICU and cardiovascular suites.
- AdventHealth Ocala has opened an urgent care facility in Ocala.
- UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital ranked No. 1 in Florida, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospital Rankings. The hospital also ranked high in eight medical specialties, with its pediatric cardiology program ranking highest at No. 7.
- Work has begun on the second phase of Red Rock Development’s Florida Crossroads Logistics project in Ocala. The work will include 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space in the I-75 industrial corridor near Amazon, AutoZone and Chewy distribution centers.
- Atlantic Logistics plans to expand its Jacksonville headquarters to house additional service lines and new employees in sales, administration and communications.
- Nestle Waters has sold its bottling operations, including its Ginnie Springs plant, to One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos & Co. The new corporate name will be BlueTriton Brands.
- SharpSpring, a Gainesville-based company that sells automated sales and marketing tools to small-business and digital marketing agencies, has been sold to Constant Contact for $240 million.
- Concept Cos. and Roberts Cos. are working to develop a 420-acre research community in Alachua County. Built around Momentum Labs, a 50,000- to 60,000-sq.-ft. laboratory to serve Gainesville’s growing biotech and life sciences industries, the community will also include single-family and multi-family housing, recreational facilities, commercial space and bike trails.
- Owners of the St. Augustine Outlets plan to redevelop their indoor mall off I-95 for mixed residential and retail use. Plans call for 350 multi-family units and up to 99,500 square feet of retail and commercial space on the 31-acre property.
- St. Johns County has approved spending up to $8 million to renovate the county-owned golf course.
- PXG has announced title sponsorship of the newly named PXG Women’s Match Play Championship, one of 14 official events on the Women’s All Pro Tour. The two-week tournament series for professional players will be Oct. 25-Nov. 3 at World Golf Village.
- Jacksonville-based Fanatics will be the primary retailer of the University of Tennessee’s fan apparel under a 10-year contract.
TRAVEL & TOURISM
- The new owners of the old Gilchrist County Jail, who purchased the property for $117,000 in June, plan to open it for tours and will renovate the guard’s house for use as an Airbnb rental.
- Downtown Jacksonville will host the Street League Skateboarding Championship Tour in November.
- The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has received the $2.4 million it needs to complete its fourth bus rapid transit route through a capital investment grant as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Orange Line will carry passengers from the transportation center in LaVilla to the Orange Park Mall.
- This month, American Airlines will add a daily nonstop flight from Jacksonville International Airport to Austin.
Read more in Florida Trend's September issue.
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