Good people can disagree on budgets, spending, reserves and how to manage them, but when giant checks show up at The City Council meeting, everyone is generally happy. It was a profitable day for The City of Apopka, with grants, gifts and 5-0 votes to accept the funds filling the early agenda.
It started off with Christian Lamphere and his Boy Scout Troop #211 receiving a gift of $1,500 from The City of Apopka for their assistance with the Independence Day event. The Troop helped event goers get their cars parked efficiently.
Lamphere also received a check for $800 from Jim Meadows, Founder of the AHA Players community theater group. He also gave Lamphere a banner listing the names of all the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lamphere is constructing a 9/11 memorial at Apopka City Hall with support from The City of Apopka and the community.
The money was raised during the AHA Players' June Performance of "The Guys" at the Apopka Community Center. The performance included a display of a section of the original World Trade Center, which will be the centerpiece of the 9-11 memorial. Aunt Gingibread's Bakery also sold items for the event. The AHA Players portion of the $800 donation was $500. Additional monies raised through Aunt Gingibread’s concession sales and donations made directly to Christian at the event brought the overall total raised to almost $800.
The Duke Energy Foundation presented a check for $9,500 to support Apopka Begins and Ends With ‘A.’ The Duke grant is the first-ever cash award for the program, which the City launched in October 2015.
The city program seeks to help Apopka schools work toward achieving an “A” rating from the state of Florida through a program of focused community involvement into educational activities. The program’s goals are to improve student outcomes as well as the perception of Apopka-area schools. Overall, the City’s long-term objective is to increase Apopka’s prospects for economic development.
"In November of 2015, we established two community action team programs at Rock Springs and Lovell Elementary Schools," said Mayor Joe Kilsheimer. "We hope to expand it to five schools this year."
Duke is also a sponsor of the Science Incubator Program in Altamonte Springs which benefits the Seminole County Public School System.
The City also received a check from Robert Brooks, park manager with the Wekiva River basin state parks, for $100,000 in state grants to improve recreational facilities at the city's Alonzo Williams Park and Kit Land Nelson Park. The grants were awarded as part of the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program.
The Apopka Fire Department also received two grants from The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and from FEMA.
The Firehouse Subs awarded Apopka firefighters with $4,401 to purchase special extraction equipment used in vehicle emergencies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded a $10,000 grant to the Apopka Fire Department to purchase a portable kit that tests the fit of firefighters' respirator masks. Masks are assigned to each firefighter as part of their essential equipment to breathe clean air during emergencies. The masks must seal properly around firefighters' face and heads to be properly certified each year.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article did not provide detail about the the AHA Players 9-11 Memorial donation. It has now been added.
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