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Columbia County Report: 47% voter turn out in Columbia County ahead of election day

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - Almost half of the registered voters in Columbia County have voted early in this general election. As of late Thursday afternoon more than 20,000 of the 44,000 eligible voters have cast a ballot either through the mail or through in person early voting. That number represents a 47% voter turnout. Total turnout in Columbia County in 2016 was 77%. Voters will have until Saturday to cast an in person ballot either at the Supervisors office in Lake City or the branch location in Ft. White.

Workers from Belles Amusements are putting the finishing touches on the annual Florida Gateway fair. The 66 year tradition kicks off on Friday night and runs until Saturday November 7th. Because of COVID 19 Fair organizers are recommending social distancing while visitors are on the property. They have also added more hand washing sinks and hand sanitizer locations. In addition to the food, fun and games the fair is a chance for students in FFA and 4H to show livestock for awards. The Fair opens at 5pm daily.

One of the lakes that give Lake City its name is getting some long-needed improvements. Gwen Lake sits one mile west of downtown Lake City and was once a selling point for the surrounding neighborhood, but years of erosion and drainage issues have made it an eyesore and a flooding hazard. Residents of the surrounding homes have been calling for this project for years and are looking forward to having their lake back.

“Oh, they can’t wait to see the lake back, back the way it used to be. The Florida Game Commission, once we start dredging the lake, the Florida Game Commission has also said they’ll help restock the lake, too, with fish. A lot of people, a lot of residents, come out here and fish with their kids and grandkids” says Thomas Henry the Director of Public Works for City of Lake City

Two state grants totaling $420,000 will fund the first two phases of a six-phase plan to repair the damage. The improvements include shoring up an eroding ravine that feeds the lake and removing roughly seven feet of sediment from the lake bottom. A new sediment basin will prevent the same problems from arising again. NW Willow Drive has been closed to allow for site prep, and contractors are scheduled to begin work in November.

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