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Meet your government: Ligon has been on job since Midtown’s start

POSTED: December 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Rusty Ligon is the Gainesville city planning director.

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Gainesville’s Planning Director Rusty Ligon has been a part of Gainesville’s Midtown redevelopment since its first days. He soon may see some of his work come to fruition.

As a former private-sector consultant for Jordan, Jones & Goulding, Ligon was the project manager working on Gainesville’s Midtown redevelopment plan back in 2000.

He says, as a Gainesville resident himself, it was his favorite project.

"It was a real interesting concept to redevelop a really blighted area of Gainesville," Ligon said.

In his consulting, Ligon said he got to know city officials and City Council members, and soon he was working for them, reviewing civil engineering plans.

Within a year of his city employment, Ligon became the special projects manager and returned to the Midtown Project he had loved working on in the private sector.

"You’re starting to see some stuff happen over there now," Ligon said in a tone of accomplishment.

"... One of the foundations ... of that plan was that the city would make some key public investments in that area to attract private development, and we are beginning to make some key public investments in there that I think have attracted and will attract future private investment."

He names the planned Midtown greenway, public safety building and pedestrian overpass as public investments that will attract private investment once they are complete.

Ligon became the director of the department last year after the former director, Kip Padgett, moved to the city manager’s Office.

"This is something that I had wanted to do," Ligon said. "... I think for me it’s being involved in every project that we work on here. Everything that we do, I’m involved in, in some aspect."

Ligon finished his education in 1992 at the University of Alabama with a double major in geography and regional and urban development. His office is filled with Alabama paraphernalia.

Outside of his office, it’s family for Ligon, who says "kids soak up my time."

Ligon jokes about spending his weekends at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but when he can, Ligon said he enjoys getting away with his wife, Carol Ann Ligon, and their two children, Eli, 6, and Emily, 3, on camping trips.


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