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Council watch

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to



In the spirit of its celebration of 40 years of pragmatic philanthropy from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation – the group has distributed more than $100 million in its four decades here – the city seems to have grown a thumping red organ of its own. It announced a $3 million funding agreement for a new Men’s Pavilion at the Coalition for the Homeless. The city will match $60,000 from area homeless and hunger groups to put forward $120,000 to retain two outreach specialists in the community. And it’s not even Christmas!

The city approves a second amendment to a lease agreement between the city of Orlando and Webster Drug Stores Inc. for property located at 29 S. Orange Ave.
Translation: We won’t even try to stick our hands (again) into the bizarre pearl-lined web of funding between the city, the Downtown Arts District and the property known as the CityArts Factory. The city justifies keeping this bricky beast afloat because things are open there and are sometimes free. The property, still owned by the old drug store company that used to reside there, is up for a lease renewal, and the drug dealers are offering a cut rate of almost $3 less per square foot. The caveat being that if the city chooses to renew in a few years, the fair market value will likely increase, as will the rent.

The city approves a license agreement with Eat More Produce for location adjacent to City Hall.
Translation: Just as the city’s food truck operators peel out in doughnut histrionics over new regulations, the city will now allow a pop-up Thursday farmers market in the breezeway connecting City Hall to the CNL Building. In exchange for a $1-per-month rent, Eat More Produce will get a 12-foot-by-12-foot kiosk to peddle organic honey, salsa and nuts. According to the agreement, Eat More Produce pretty much has to pretend it’s not there, though, with no egregious advertising or noisemaking allowed. Still, for a dollar you could do worse and eat less.

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