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INVERNESS — Blueberries, a 10-year celebration of the humble turtle and recycling for all are among the upcoming highlights of 2013 for the city of Inverness.
For residents and visitors alike, here are five things to look forward to within the city limits this year:
1. Events. More, bigger, better, grander. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cooterfest, so look for “Cooter 10” to be, in the words of Inverness City Manager Frank DiGiovanni, “sensational and fabulous, flashy and splashy.”
In addition to the other scores of regularly scheduled events, the city will be playing host to some type of an event that combines local blueberries and the blues, as well as more younger-generation-centric music events, such as a Rock the Block night.
“We’ve come to realize that the branding of the town is very important,” DiGiovanni said, “and the fact that people are having loads of fun at these events and then telling others about Inverness is huge.”
2. Valerie Theatre restoration progress. Although no actual construction will take place in 2013, this year the city will finalize the bid documents for the various phases of construction, for an anticipated ribbon-cutting in September 2014.
The anticipated funding — between $250,000 and $500,000 — city leaders hope will come from a state program that supports historical restoration projects geared toward arts and community culture.
3. Bicycle Boulevard. In recent years, Inverness has become a destination spot for bicyclists, and “Bicycle Boulevard,” the stretch of North Apopka from Dampier Street to the Withlacoochee State Trail, will get a facelift in 2013, with better-defined bike lanes on both sides of the street, a median in the center of the road, angled parking spaces and flashing “bicycle crossing” traffic warning devices at the trailhead.
4. Residential recycling. As the city of Inverness gets increasingly greener, 2013 will see the implementation of residential curbside recycling, with a target date of March. City residents will be issued single-stream containers for one-day-a-week pickup.
Last February, representatives from Waste Management presented members of Inverness City Council with a synopsis of the program, explaining that the recycling “totes” will come with a list of everything that goes into them: milk and liquid laundry soap jugs, cereal boxes, soda cans, etc. Residents simply fill up the totes, set them out at the curb, probably on Wednesdays, and Waste Management trucks will come and pick them up.
5. Parks upgrades. Projects slated for the city’s satellite parks in 2013 include: upgrades to the Wallace Brooks Park playground area and resurfacing of the shuffleboard court, redoing the Liberty Park parking area, refurbishing the pool at Whispering Pines Park and lighting the 1,800-foot Cooter Pond boardwalk.
“Our goal is not just to light the boardwalk, but to be able to accommodate events there,” DiGiovanni said.
Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com or 352-564-2927.