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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Keep Alachua County Beautiful asked to vacate city-owned property

The local nonprofit was trespassed Tuesday for occupying a city-owned property without contract

Local nonprofit Keep Alachua County Beautiful was given a trespass notice Tuesday for “taking up illegal residence” in a city-owned property, according to the City of Gainesville.

The group, which advocates for the beautification and conservation of Alachua County, publicly announced Jan. 13 it had moved to a new address — a historical home at 738 NW Seventh St. — that KACB had hosted a clean-up event for in October. The move followed claims of public health issues at its previous office, such as mold and sewage backup, according to Tyler Smith, KACB executive director.

After being served the trespass notice, a complaint was voiced from the KACB Facebook page alleging the City of Gainesville had evicted the group unlawfully. The comment has since been deleted.

According to a response from the City of Gainesville Facebook page, KACB had no “contractual agreement” with the city allowing it to occupy the property. This led the group to be told that it would have to “vacate immediately.”

The city emphasized its support of the nonprofit in its response.

“The City of Gainesville values its partnership with Keep Alachua County Beautiful. Last year, we provided KACB with $66,000 in funding,” the City of Gainesville said in a statement. “Our support does not extend to allowing unlawful occupation of a city property. Not only because moving in without an agreement is unauthorized and unsafe, but because it is unfair.”

KACB declined to comment regarding the notice.

The property is not set to be demolished, but will instead be “rehabbed for future neighbors in need,” according to the city. The project will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Contact Bailey Diem at bdiem@alligator.org. Follow her on X @BaileyDiem.

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Bailey Diem

Bailey Diem is a first-year journalism major and a metro general assignment reporter for The Alligator. When not reporting, Bailey can be found playing guitar or getting lost in a book.


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