The City of Palatka News – July 18, 2023
Thank you for your years of service to Palatka
When Steve Crowley retired after 28 years as Director of Libraries at Putnam County Library System, he didn’t walkway from his service to the community; he jumped right back in.
“So, I retired as director. At the same time, there came an opening to serve on the Putnam County Library Board as a representative of the City of Palatka.” said Crowley. “At that point, Betsy Driggers was City Clerk. And she called me and asked whether I would like to be on the library board. She was a formidable force, and I could not refuse. So, I was nominated and appointed to the board.”
The Putnam County Library Board is a governing committee of nine residents, five nominated by the Putnam County Commission and four by the Palatka City Commission, who oversee the County’s library system.
“When I started here, the City of Palatka had the Larimer Library, there was a library in Melrose and then one in Crescent City. It just didn’t make sense, so they were all folded in together under the county. Putnam County really was not big enough to support different library systems,” said Crowley, “and the board was formed to give Palatka a say in the operation.”
“We created a library board that had five people appointed directly by the board of County Commissioners and then to represent the historical relationship between the City of Palatka and the library system,” he continued, “we included four members recommended by the City of Palatka and appointed by the board of County Commissioners.
Crowley has left the board after serving the maximum two three-year terms ending more than three decades of service to the library system.
Crowley was hired to be the director of the Palatka Library in the 1980s and worked in what is now the Larimer Arts Center on Reid Street in the city.
The Library was built in 1930 as a gift to the city from James Ross Mellon, who spent winters in the city for 50 years and was a member of the wealthy Mellon banking family from Pittsburgh, to give the citizens of Palatka access to knowledge to help them succeed. The library and now the arts center is named after James Ross Mellon’s wife Rachel Larimer Mellon.
And in the decades since, the Library system has served Palatka and Putnam County well.
“Libraries are important because they still present a safe place to be. They provide a place to read books and learn, to access the Internet, to access computers, to conduct personal business. They're also a place for young people to get together and access materials that are relevant to their lives,” Crowley said.
Crowley has seen a lot of changes in the library. Probably the most significant change is the transition to an online life, he said.
“We used to joke and say that we were trying to get Putnam County on to, if not electronic information superhighway highway at least we're getting them on the electronic information super dirt road.” said Crowley.
Crowley still sees the county’s libraries still serving a similar purpose that they did when Mellon funded the Larimer Library in the City almost 100 years ago, as a cornerstone of the community. When asked if he still sees a place in the Palatka/Putnam County community in the next thirty years, he said he really does.
“I think that libraries will largely transition into being a community center, a place where people of all stripes can come to and exist safely, read and discover the world out there.”
Thank you, Steve, for helping the residents of Palatka and Putnam County discover the world.
If you are interested in volunteering to serve on the Library Board or other Palatka boards, please email contact City Clerk Sunni Krantz at (386) 329-0100 or email@example.com
- Current Vacancies are:
- Planning Board
- Police Officers’ Pension Board
- Putnam County Library Board – City appointment
- Putnam County Better Place Plan Oversite Committee – City appointment
- Zoning Board of Appeals
Twin sisters learn about Palatka as summer interns
Reagan and Riley Blackmer are spending their summer learning firsthand about what working in local government is like. The seventeen-year-old identical twins are part of the City of Palatka's Summer Intern Program designed to expose area high school and college students to how the City operates and help them achieve their educational goals.
Reagan and Riley, are incoming seniors at Q. I. Roberts Junior-Senior High School, who hope to pursue careers in medicine and law, Reagan by getting law and medical degrees, and Riley becoming a pediatric surgeon.
"I wanted to get involved in the community because I have an interest in going into law, and that heavily relies on working with the community," said Reagan, who is working this summer in the City's Public Works Department," I'm really happy I'm in public works because that is what we do… Public Works works with the community."
Reagan's job at Public Works includes answering the phone, helping customers who come to the office, and filing paperwork.
"I think Public Works is arguably one of the most important departments in the City," said Reagan. "They take care of the City's water lines and sewer, pick up trash, fix roads, maintain City buildings, parks, and cemeteries," she said. "It is unbelievable how small the [Public Works] departments are, but how much gets done. These people are so hard working."
"It is definitely a career that I never thought I'd be interested in, but I've learned so much, and it's actually been very fun for me. I love my job there. I love everything I'm doing." said Reagan.
Reagan's sister Riley works in the City's Human Resources Department in City Hall, where she meets many different City employees.
My favorite days have definitely been taking tours of the City and going and meeting all of the employees at each department. We went to the police station, the fire department, the wastewater treatment plant, the water treatment plant, and public works." said Riley, "We went everywhere and it was fun just getting to meet the employees and see what they do for the City."
"It has been fascinating to see the important relationship that HR has with employees and to get the big picture and realize how much the employees do for the City," she said. "The biggest surprise, I would definitely say, was how much and how many things the employees are responsible for in the operations of the City. I think people sometimes take what it takes to make a city run for granted."
When asked if she would recommend her friends to come to work for the City, she said. "There is a camaraderie between all city departments; I think all employees have a lot of respect for each other and it's a very good working environment. This City is a wonderful place and I think anyone who's interested in working here would definitely love it."
Riley says she knows her internship will help her with her goal of being a physician.
"HR is all about building a good relationship with your employees so they can trust you. And I think that corresponds a lot with patients and building relationships with them, so they can trust you as their medical provider," she said. "This has been a great experience."
To learn more about The City of Palatka and careers, please visit the City’s website at http://www.Palatka-fl.gov
Photo of the Week
Members of the City of Palatka’s Public Works Department pose for a group photograph last week.
Remember to lock your vehicles
The Police Department has responded to an increased amount of vehicle burglaries and thefts over the last few weeks. Suspects are targeting vehicles in apartment complexes and are taking firearms, electronics, and cash. The suspects appear to target Hyundai and Kia model vehicles for vehicle theft.
We encourage everyone to ensure firearms, electronics and cash are not left inside of vehicles. Owners of Hyundai and Kia model automobiles should take extra precautions in securing the vehicle and utilize some sort of anti-theft device. It’s very important for everyone to lock vehicle doors when they are unoccupied, regardless of make and model.
We ask all of our citizens to report suspicious activity to the communications center at 386-329-0801.
Career Opportunities with the City
The City of Palatka is currently taking applications for the following positions,
Please visit https://palatka-fl.gov/Jobs.aspx for more information or to apply.
Equipment Operator (Driver)
Human Resource Director
Human Resources Coordinator
Sanitation Equipment Operator (Driver)
Utility Maintenance Worker-Trainee
Water Plant Mechanic
WWTP - Operator Trainee