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About Alachua

Business Opportunities Natural Beauty Educational Opportunities Cultural Opportunities Alachua Lifestyle

 


Welcome to Alachua, Come Live Our "Good Life"
In 1999, Mike and I considered moving to Alachua to escape the hectic lifestyle of South Florida, on the advice of fellow cyclists Darryl and Cindy Tompkins. We knew Darryl and Cindy moved here after several visits for cycling tours. On our first visit to Alachua, we fell in love with the town. We were familiar with the restaurant business, and thought we could begin our new business in the local ice cream parlor for sale on Main Street. Darryl and Cindy's successful move to Alachua gave us confidence that this town could support our business. We bought the historic building on Main Street, and moved in upstairs. The downstairs was renovated, and the Harvest Thyme Café was opened.
Now our Café is thriving. Many tourists passing through downtown stop in and enjoy the bounty of fresh healthy food. The local business people drop in for a quick, healthy lunch. Little groups of church ladies often gather early in the morning on the patio and enjoy their muffins, coffee and conversation. Today, as our family is growing, our lifestyle is much less hectic, for going to work is a simple walk downstairs. The people of Alachua have welcomed us, and we are pleased to call Alachua our home.
Jennifer and Mike Davidson, Owners of Harvest Thyme Café on Main Street.

My family moved to Alachua area in the late 1800's. The beautiful rolling hills, rural settings, friendly genuine people and North Florida's four seasons were largely what drew them to Alachua. Four generations later, these are the same things that have kept us here. My business career has taken me to most parts of the United States, but I have never found a place I'd rather live. Now that I am back home, I focus my time and attention to helping make Alachua a better place to live. My real estate company is involved in several new projects that will provide Alachua's citizens and newcomers with new employment opportunities and residential houses that fit into the existing Alachua architectural style, and for new companies, state of the art corporate office park facilities. Come visit us for a week, and you will probably never leave.
Jim Shaw, First Street Group and Progress Corporate Park




The city of Alachua has its roots in the 1818 pioneer town of Newnansville, which was built on the major trade route crossing Florida, Old Bellamy road. In 1854 when the railroad replaced the historic trails as the major route of transportation, Alachua was born. In 1995, the State of Florida awarded Alachua the honor of "Most Outstanding Rural Community" in the state. Today Alachua is a prosperous town, which is a wonderful mix of local folks who are direct descendants of the Newnansville founders, and transplanted folks who fell in love with the friendly small town atmosphere.

Alachua is wonderfully unique. It is a beautiful, rural area full of natural resources that also offers diverse employment and business opportunities to it's citizens. It is strategically located between 3 major routes of transportation, Interstate 75, US highway 441 and a CSX railroad line. Our close proximity to the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College gives our town the wonderful position of pursuing clean, cutting-edge economic growth and allows the advantage of job training and a well educated employment base for our growing companies. Additionally, our citizens and government officials who value our small town atmosphere are determined to prevent our area from turning into another South Florida by planning and managing our new growth. Patrick Murphey, Alachua's mayor, defines Alachua's goal as "trying to achieve a delicate balance between business and the community, while maintaining a rural atmosphere and a down home friendly attitude", but Mayor Murphey is quick to point out that "Alachua is pro-growth" unlike many communities in Florida.

In 1987 our historic Main Street, with its quaint brick, 1900's architecture and grand old Victorian homes, was redeveloped. This revitalization has provided the perfect environment for our Main Street business to flourish. Through the continued support and efforts of our citizens in the downtown Redevelopment Committee, additional grants have been obtained to build a sitting garden park within the towering, antique brick walls of the old Main Street cinema. City beautification projects currently underway will extend redevelopment to other areas of our quaint downtown by providing additional parks, public restrooms and playground equipment. Today, our downtown business and employment opportunities continue to expand. Across from our ball park just west of Main Street, there will soon be a new post office and business center, and fronting Highway 441 there are plans for a new retail shopping area to include a new grocery store. A stroll down Main Street will reveal our prosperous downtown an exemplary environment for your business.

The Progress Corporate Park is located on the south side of Alachua on Highway 441. This park was founded on the desire of attracting businesses based on progressive new technologies to Alachua. The nearby University of Florida, a land grant institute world renowned for its medical and agricultural research, has attracted highly educated people to our area. Many of these folks are compelled by the potential of technology to branch out and provide additional research, beneficial resources and products. The Progress Corporate Park has provided the perfect location, with the required infrastructure already in place, for the creation and growth of many such businesses. Today with architectural and development codes in place, the vision of the park is expanding to include new corporate and business facilities as well as a hotel and convention center.

Alachua continues to plan for its future by providing for its citizens additional opportunities for gainful employment, including a new commercial distribution center and a 60,000 square foot state of Florida office building. Clearly, the Progress Corporate park and our diverse selection of home grown, successful and competitive business make Alachua a community rich in opportunity. For a listing of the business in Alachua contact the Alachua Chamber of Commerce, 386-462-3333 or www.alachua.com.

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Alachua is nestled in the green, gently rolling landscape of North Central Florida. We are surrounded by breathtaking examples of our natural environment, which have been preserved for our future generations to enjoy. We have a number of state parks in the Alachua area including San Felasco State Preserve, O'leno State Recreation area and Ichetucknee State Park. These parks include rivers, springs, and southern hammocks rich with wildlife. Some of our favorite ways to enjoy our surroundings include canoeing down the Santa Fe River, boating and winter manatee watching down the Suwannee, or tubing down the frigid, crystal clear waters of the Ichetucknee River. Our meandering country roads attract biking enthusiasts from all over the Southeastern United States. Other nature based recreational opportunities include bird watching, camping, hiking and fishing. Many of the local folks love to fish. We have freshwater fishing on our nearby rivers and lakes, including Cross Creek. Saltwater fishing is a 2 hour drive to either the Gulf of Mexico for Red Fish, Sea Trout, Scallops or Grouper, or to the Atlantic for the larger catches such as King Fish, Bill Fish, Dolphin & Mahi Mahi.

Parks, Natural, and Historical attractions

Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site: provides picnicking and a nature trail for hiking. Climb down a wooden stairway into the heart of the 120 foot sink hole which has provided fossils and Indian artifacts from its extinct inhabitants. 352-955-2008

Dudley Farm State Historical Site: Provides guided tours of the historical old cracker farm site. 352-472-5929

Gainesville to Hawthorne State Trail: Provides a 16-mile hiking, biking and horseback riding trail. The trail, built on an abandoned 1850 railroad bed, begins at Boulware Springs, runs along Paynes Prairie and on to Hawthorne. 352-955-2138

Ginnie Springs: This beautiful group of springs on the Santa Fe River is famous among scuba divers and is a great place to cool off during the summer. 386-497-2511.

Ichetucknee Springs state Park: Provides picnicking, swimming, canoeing, tubing, and diving along the 6 mile, spring fed, crystal clear river. 386-497-2511.

Marjorle Kinnan Rawlings State Historical Site: Provides nature trails through the historical grounds and guided tours of the author's Cross Creek home. 352-466-3672

O'leno State Park / River Rise State Preserve: Provides camping, group camping with cabins, swimming, canoeing, horseback trails, hiking trails and fishing on the Santa Fe River. 386-454-4201.

Paynes Prairie states Preserve: Was described in 1774 by William Bartram as the 'Great Alachua Savannah'. This park provides boating, canoeing, camping, picnicking, biking, horseback trails, hiking trails, and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy this unusually diverse 21,000 acre section of wild Florida habitat. 352-466-3397

San Felasco Hammock State Preserve: Provides picnicking, nature trails for hiking and winter time guided tours on horseback through this forested wildlife preserve. 386-462-7905

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W. W. Irby Elementary: In 1992, the county school board agreed to build a secondary elementary school in the city of Alachua. They planned to split our community and have some students go to the new school, and some students go to the old school. However, our citizens and educators had a different idea, and the school board allowed us to implement a model program. Today, W.W. Irby Elementary educates preschool through second grade. This unique opportunity allows Irby to provide a wonderful learning environment with its staff and facilities focused on the needs of our youngest students. In 1996, Irby was chosen by early childhood educators as one of the top schools in Florida, and Principal Dr. Christine Hirsch was named Primary Educator of the Year for her success with primary education. Give Dr. Hirsch a call, and visit our school

Irby Elementary: Grades Pre-K - 2: Dr. Christine Hirsch, Principal; 386-462-5002

Alachua Elementary School educates our children from third through fifth grades. In 1996 Alachua Elementary won the Florida Blue Ribbon School Award for academic improvement, community relations and faculty involvement. The principal Jim Brandenburg is proud of their academic achievements.

Alachua Elementary: Grades 3-5; Jim Brandenburg, Principal; 386-462-1841

Mebane Middle School educates our children from the sixth through eight grades. The principal is Chet Sanders. In addition to preparation for High School, Mebane offers some specifically designed courses to help the students get hands-on work experience, including a course in which students build and sell computers.

Al Mebane Middle: Grades 6-8; Chet Sanders, Principal; 386-462-1648

Santa Fe High School educates grades nine through twelve, and is proud of its growth. Currently Santa Fe High is constructing a new Veterinary Training Center. In addition to its vocational and college preparatory courses, Santa Fe offers its 1,000 students a rich mix of excellence in 4-H agricultural events, sports and band.

Santa Fe High: Grades 9-12; Dr. Lamar Simmons, Principal, 386-462-1125

For more information contact the Alachua County School Board, 352-373-5198.

Santa Fe Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the Florida Department of Education. They offer a 2-year Associates of Arts degree in various fields of arts or sciences. Santa Fe also has many Science and Technology Programs with a 2-year Associates of Science degree or a certificate. These programs include several Health Sciences series, which prepare students for licensure in such fields as X-Ray Technology. Give Santa Fe a call, or check out their web site to see what they have to offer for you. Larry W. Tyree, President ; 352-395-7322 or www.santafe.cc.fl.us

The University of Florida is the oldest, largest and most educationally diverse public land-grant institution in the State of Florida. Today this major institution has 43,000 students, over 200 colleges and schools offering approximately 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate majors. Professional majors include dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. The University is also world renowned for its Agricultural and Medicinal research. To continue attracting outstanding research faculty, the University currently has 53 eminent scholar chairs with each chair funded at $1,000,000. The University is ranked 8th among all US universities in number of patents granted in 1999 and ranked 11th for the number of National Merit Scholars in its 1999 freshman class. The University offers the community education, agricultural and medical research, tertiary medical care facilities, a cultural arts complex and many wonderful sporting events of the various teams of the Florida Fighting Gators.

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Community Theaters provide a season of diverse productions, both musical and drama, utilizing local writing, directing, musical and acting talent. The Hippodrome State Theater, The Gainesville Play House, and The High Springs Women's Club.

Dance Companies: Local dance companies provide training for our future dancers, as well as present several annual performances at the University of Florida Center for performing Arts. Dance Alive, Gainesville Dance Company, Joni Messler Studios.

Fred Bear Museum: Located within the Bear Archery Factory, includes Fred Bear's personal collection of artifacts from around the world, and an opportunity to observe bow manufacturing. 352-376-2411.

Gainesville Artisans Guild Gallery: 352-378-1383.

The Thomas Center: This wonderfully restored hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It houses art exhibitions, and the main room provides a charming setting for performances of well known musical talent, or for your next personal celebration. 352-334-2179.

The University of Florida Cultural Complex: Located in nearby Gainesville, Florida. The Center for Performing Arts offers several series of performances, which appeal to every taste and age group. Their Classical Series has included many great Operas such as Don Giovanni. The Center Stage has offered a wonderfully diverse selection of performances such as The 'King and I' and Ray Charles. They also offer a very popular series of children's events such as the Velveteen Rabit, The Nutcracker and Bill Nye the Science Guy. 352-392-2787, 1-800-905-2787.

Florida Museum of Natural History:
The brand new 55,000 square foot facility is the largest in the Southeastern United States. The permanent exhibit in this wonderful museum offers an opportunity to explore the natural history of Florida including fossils of our extinct species, and a life size model of a natural Florida cave. The cool, dark cave is a very realistic display of animal and plant specimens found in this unique Florida habitat. The Museum also offers several dynamic displays annually, workshops for all age groups and summer classes for children. 352-846-2000.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art: Houses a permanent collection of multicultural art, features approximately 15 dynamic displays annually, and offers classes and workshops designed specifically for children, adults or seniors. 352-392-9826.

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Housing


Part of living "good life" in Alachua is the availability of diverse types of home sites. We have a selection of neighborhoods that allow families to choose the home site and lifestyle that fits their specific desires and needs. Many folks enjoy living in the original historic homes of downtown. Alachua has a wonderful downtown neighborhood, full of beautiful old homes and the history and convenience that appeals to many families. Oak Ridge Crossing is a modern subdivision that offers its families a unique opportunity to live on the edge of downtown on 2 to 10-acre homes-only parcels. With a beautiful brick entrance, convenient location, homes-only zoning and a green space buffer surrounding it, this subdivision is highly desirable. Oak Meadows, a subdivision in the neighboring town of High Springs, has 5-acre parcels, and allows new doublewide manufactured homes or site built homes.

Alachua also has several modern, gated neighborhoods. Turkey Creek is a gated golf and country club community. This wonderful community has something to offer all of its residents, and with low maintenance loss, it is very popular with our seniors as well as our young and growing families. Many families love the neighborhood atmosphere, but would like more room for horses, a horse barn, an orchard, garden, or an out building to store their larger toys. We have several gated communities just within city limits that fit this need perfectly. Stonegate, with its beautiful rolling hills and ponds, offers 5 to 10 acre parcels which are zoned for homes only. Just past Stonegate on Shaw Memorial Highway (Hwy 241) is Greenhill Farms, a gated community of estate size, 20-acre parcels that allow homes larger than 3,000 square feet.

Citizen Participation

The people of Alachua love their city, and their dedication to Alachua keeps them actively involved. We have a variety of citizen-based organizations, which contribute to society both locally and worldwide. The Lions Clubs and The Women's Club of Alachua contribute to our community in many ways including scholarships and hosting annual community events. The Citizens for Better Alachua, a local volunteer group of citizens, is an active participant in our city commission and planning meetings, and they are dedicated to improving the wonderful lifestyle we already enjoy in Alachua. The Alachua Chamber of Commerce has been responsible for arranging and sponsoring our annual Dickens Festival, Christmas parade and our Halloween in Main Street Trick-or-Treat Event, which of course is very popular with the kids.

There are numerous Churches representing most denominations in Alachua. True to our rural heritage, our churches play an integral role in our community by supporting each other in our times of need. Our local churches also actively support senior programs, feed and clothe needy families, donate back-to-school items for needy families, support our local Habitat for Humanity effort and numerous other causes.

Sports

Members of our Chamber of Commerce, other local businesses and our entire community are avid supporters of the very successful Santa Fe Babe Ruth Baseball Organization. Every year our town rallies around our youth and their great American game of baseball. The quality of our organization and events, including our season kickoff jamboree and barbecue, reflect the community's support, and make the Santa Fe Babe Ruth Baseball Organization the envy of other neighboring and much larger communities.

In 1992 Alachua hosted the Babe Ruth Bambino World Series. Nine teams from all over the country came to Alachua to play in the finals, and this was the first time the Bambino World Series was ever held in the State of Florida. The series wasn't hosted by a large, famous city, it was hosted by the fine, small town of Alachua. Preparing our city recreation center and ball fields for this event was a huge undertaking. The coordinated efforts and donations of the city, many citizens and business made it possible. Today our youth continue to enjoy the benefit of these efforts.

Alachua's golf enthusiasts can enjoy their sport at the local golf course and country club known to everyone as Turkey Creek. The country club also offers summer courses in golf, tennis and swimming for our youth.

Sports enthusiasts in Alachua are great supporters of the University of Florida Fighting Gators. Many of the University's teams are nationally recognized including baseball, basketball, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. However, fans flock to us from all over the country to watch our nationally ranked football team with Coach Steve Spurrier. There is a true fever that surges through the swamp when it is full of 90,000 fans watching their Gators play football... It is Gator fever... Come catch it too.

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Alachua Properties Inc
14721 Main Street
Alachua, Florida 32616-1737

386-462-5499

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