Plan to attend Sustainability Summit June 6 & 7
Steve Schell
May/June 1997

How do you think an additional 50,000 residents would affect Alachua County? Well, according to the Gainesville Urbanized Area Transportation Study Year 2020 Update, we could be looking at that kind of increase in population in less than 20 years. How do we maintain or improve our quality of life in such circumstances? How can we provide infrastructure, health and recreation facilities, education, jobs that pay a decent wage, and environmental protection as the area continues to grow?

Sustainable Alachua County, Inc. (SAC) has been seeking to address these and other topics related to a growing economy which is dependent upon a healthy natural and social environment. Since last fall, SAC has been presenting the Sustainable Development Seminar Series, with guest presentations explaining the successes that other communities have had with sustainable efforts. Focus teams have been formed and regularly meet to discuss issues such as land use, transportation, economy, education, and agriculture and food. SAC will bring all this together at their Sustainability Summit to be held on June 6 and 7.

The summit will kick off on the evening of June 6 with a reception and guest speaker (location to be announced). Then on Saturday, June 7, at the J. Wayne Reitz Union on the University of Florida campus, the day-long event will begin with several short presentations by guests from other sustainable endeavors as well as local participants who will discuss our current situation and how we can move forward on a positive note. The focus teams will also give short presentations on the issues they have been discussing over the past several months. After lunch, there will be group discussions to talk about what organizations, groups, and individuals can do to ensure sustainable growth in Alachua County. Everyone in attendance will be able to choose the groups they are interested in and participate in the discussions and offer ideas and suggestions. The day will conclude with a presentation that will cover what each of the discussion groups has decided upon as a course of action.

After the summit, the ideas, comments, and suggestions will be compiled into a set of principles which will be presented to elected officials from throughout Alachua County at a policy forum to be held on June 19. The idea is for as many members of the community as possible to get together to discuss how we want to deal with continued growth, and to then present these concerns and ideas to elected officials for action. If you have an issue you would like to address, attend the summit and join in the discussions. SAC truly wants a broad spectrum of the community in attendance at the summit; this is the only way it can be successful. As Alachua County continues to grow, its citizens should be the ones to choose a course for that growth that will effectively address economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity--all of which are interconnected.

Please make plans to attend the Sustainability Summit on June 6 & 7. For more information on the summit, or if you would like to join Sustainable Alachua County, please call 378-7173 anytime. You may also write SAC at P.O. Box 2772, Gainesville FL 32602-2772 or check out SAC's web page at

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