Community briefs

Posted 12/13/17

Transportation survey respondents still neededJACKSONVILLE – Residents in six Northeast Florida counties, including Clay, have until Dec. 15 to give their input on future road and …

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Community briefs


Transportation survey respondents still needed
JACKSONVILLE – Residents in six Northeast Florida counties, including Clay, have until Dec. 15 to give their input on future road and transportation issues facing the region.
The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and the Florida Dept. of Transportation are sponsoring the North Florida Transportation Survey to better understand residents’ travel needs.
This is important because the information collected in this survey will help improve the regional transportation system and prioritize future transportation improvements. The survey is collecting information on day-to-day travel and activities in the North Florida region – how we travel, where we go, how long it takes us and what we do when we arrive.
The TPO wants to obtain a complete picture of travel patterns in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties. The survey is currently underway to late November. To access the survey link, go to The password is Survey.

Grand opening plans underway for Aldi
ORANGE PARK – After months of construction, the old Walmart shopping center in the 660 block of Blanding Boulevard will soon be at full capacity.
Anchored by L.A. Fitness and Academy Sports, a new 19,842 square foot Aldi supermarket will open on January 11, 2018 in the Bolton Plaza at 661 Blanding Blvd. Aldi joins a new 22,000 square foot Marshall’s, which opened earlier this year.
When open, the store’s hours will be Mondays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Orange Park area supermarket is part of a larger Aldi expansion program. The grocery retailer recently announced a $3.4 billion capital investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022 building on its already aggressive growth plan to spend $1.6 billion program to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020. An Aldi store is also under construction in the Oakleaf.
These two new stores will join Aldi’s first Clay County store in the busy Branan Field/Blanding Boulevard area north of Middleburg, which opened in May 2015.
“We pioneered a grocery model built around value, convenience, quality and selection and now ALDI is one of America’s favorite and fastest growing retailers,” said Jason Hart, chief executive officer. “We’re growing at a time when other retailers are struggling. We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and fresh healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores.”

Save water, skip a week
PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District is encouraging homeowners in its 18-county region, which includes Clay County, to “Skip a Week” of lawn and landscape irrigation during the cooler months of December, January and February.
“Skipping a week of irrigation when your yard doesn’t need it keeps lawns healthy and helps to conserve drinking water supplies – if homeowners who irrigate skipped every other week of watering this winter, north and east-central Florida could save more than 1 billion gallons of water,” said Ann Shortelle, SJRWMD executive director.
During the cooler months, weekly irrigation isn’t always needed. In fact, research shows one-half to I three-quarter nches of water per irrigation zone every 10-14 days is sufficient.
Overwatering makes lawns less able to survive Florida’s inevitable droughts and encourages pests, disease and root rot. Using less water encourages deeper grass and plant roots, which makes them more drought-tolerant and less susceptible to pests and disease.
Skipping a week is as simple as manually turning off your irrigation system.
To make sure your yard stays healthy, turn on your irrigation system if you see signs your grass needs water. Signs include grass blades are folded in half, grass blades are blue-gray or grass blades do not spring back; footprints remain visible on your lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
If you see signs your lawn is wilting and decide to irrigate, the University of Florida recommends an average of ½ to ¾ inches of water per application. Saturating the root zone and then letting the soil dry encourages healthy, deep root growth.
Additional research about efficient irrigation and other landscaping topics can be found at, which is part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension website.
To learn more about the district’s “Skip a Week” message, visit

Clamour Theatre Company expands search for artistic home
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clamour Theatre Company’s hopes of re-opening the Clay Theatre as its artistic home came to an end recently when another buyer closed on the historic building.
“We had raised about a third of the purchase price,” said Elaine Smith, Clamour’s artistic director. "I'm sure we could have raised the rest of it, but we just ran out of time.”
The fledgling company incorporated at the beginning of 2017 with the three-fold mission of inspiring and nurturing a love for theatre in Northeast Florida, bringing professional productions to Clay County on a regular basis, and training and supporting aspiring theatre artists of all ages, races, and genders.
“The Clay Theatre would have been a perfect location,” Smith said. “Nearly a turn-key for us. It's definitely disappointing to have lost it. But we're theatre people. Disappointment is built into the job. We'll find another location.”
Clamour is now hoping to find an affordable alternative, looking into former schools, churches, large warehouses, or retail spaces that might be made suitable for theatrical performances.
While the company was conducting its capital campaign, they were pursuing their artistic purpose through partnerships with local businesses. Spring Park Coffee in Green Cove Springs hosted their first event last March, an evening of readings of short new plays by local playwrights for the nation-wide Future is Female Festival. Two of those plays, written specifically for that event, have gone on to productions in theatres out of state.
Another evening of readings was held in June at the Urban Bean Coffeehouse Café in Orange Park with plays by five playwrights from around the country. Both the Urban Bean and Spring Park events were extremely well-attended, an encouraging sign for a new theatre company.
An unexpectedly popular endeavor was its third production: a one-man show written by Smith especially for the River Park Inn’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in July. The piece, in which Dr. Joseph Applegate, a real historical figure, relates the history of Green Cove’s boom times at the turn of the Twentieth Century, was originally planned as a one-time presentation. It has since been performed for a tour group from St. Augustine and is scheduled for two performances in January at different locations with additional bookings under consideration. Dr. Applegate ran the Clarendon Hotel in Green Cove Springs from 1870 to 1900. He spent the last years of his life in what was then Cottage A on the hotel grounds and has since become the River Park Inn.
“Dr. Applegate lost his hotel. But he found a home in Cottage A, and it's been re-purposed into a beautiful bed & breakfast,” Smith said. “We’re feeling like we have something in common with the doctor now that we've lost our ideal location. But we’re taking inspiration from his experiences and trusting that we’ll end up as well as he did if we just keep working. The goal is quality theatre, not real estate. We just need ‘two boards and a passion,’ as Lope de Vega, the great Spanish playwright,” said Smith.
For more information, email, or visit:
Clamour Theatre Company, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to inspire and nurture a love for theatre in northeast Florida, to educate and challenge a diverse community with theatrical productions of new and classic plays and musicals, and to train and support aspiring theatre artists of all ages, genders, and ethnicities through exposure to and involvement with theatrical experiences.


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