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New Dollar Tree store coming to Clewiston by end of year

CLEWISTON—Dollar Tree, Inc has set its sights on Clewiston and is looking to build a new store in our fair city in this year. City commissioners gave Dollar Tree the go ahead by approving the development order with a 4-0 vote (Commissioner James Pittman was not in attendance).

The new Dollar Tree store will be a 10,000 square foot, stand-alone building and will be located between First Bank of Clewiston and Burger King. In order to build the store, changes to existing roads will be made. The store will hire eight employees, including a local manager to run the store, according to Noel Barnett from Bohler Engineering, a Fort Lauderdale-based engineering company in charge of building the store. According to Barnett, the goal is to have the store open by the end of the year, just in time for holiday shopping. Commissioners seemed keen on approving this development project, with Mayor Phillip Roland saying “we’re excited to have Dollar Tree coming.”

Sheriff Steve Whidden also gave a presentation for commissioners to consider, concerning school resource officers in Hendry County schools. During their May 21 meeting, county commissioners approved a grant for Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) to hire new deputies, including school resource officers who would work specifically in Hendry County schools. The grant, however, will only provide funding for three years. After three years, the salaries for those school resource officers will be cut, if no other funding is provided. Sheriff Whidden does not want this program to be “short-term;” he especially does not want to be without these officers if something were to happen in the schools, so he asked city commissioners to provide additional funding after the grant runs out. City commissioners were left to ponder the Sheriff’s presentation; a vote will be made at a future meeting.

In response to a new state law, commissioners voted to approve an ordinance giving the Special Magistrate authority over red-light camera citations. Rather than the county overseeing these citations, the ordinance will give the municipalities the power to manage the infractions. Effective July 1, this ordinance will eliminate the need for violators who wish to challenge the citation to go to the courthouse in LaBelle; instead, violators will go before the Special Magistrate in Clewiston. The ordinance will also extend the amount of time violators have to challenge the citation to 60 days. It also gives commissioners the right to set an administrative fee of up to $250 to cover the cost of having to call special meetings when violators fight the infractions.

After approving the ordinance with a 4-0 vote, commissioners listened to an update on the CDBG Grant, which awarded the City of Clewiston $700,000 to rehabilitate and replace ten housing units occupied by low- and moderate-income families in Clewiston. Nancy Phillips gave an overview of the project to commissioners. In all, four housing units will be demolished and replaced and six housing units will be remodeled once the project begins in July. Construction projects will take about four months and rehabilitation projects will take about 30 days, according to Phillips.

Commissioner Julio Rodriguez commented on the project, saying “what a great program” it is and how the people whose homes are being remodeled or reconstructed “have got to be blessed.”

Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the project. Commissioners also voted 4-0 to approve the interlocal agreement between the City of Clewiston and Hendry County, concerning recreational facilities, programs, and services, which county commissioners also approved at their last meeting on June 11.

Before the meeting adjourned, commissioners learned that everything is set and ready to go for the July Fourth fireworks show. The show will be held on July 4 about 30 minutes after dusk at the Sugarland Sport Complex.