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City workshop to focus on west side business
Atlanta Highway, Browns Bridge Road and Lakeshore Mall areas involved
Gainesville’s Lakeshore Mall will be one of the areas that will be discussed during Thursday’s Comprehensive Plan meeting.

2030 Gainesville Comprehensive Plan

What: Workshop to discuss Browns Bridge Road, Atlanta Highway and Lakeshore Mall areas
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Gainesville High School, 830 Century Place, Gainesville

Gainesville officials will hold their third workshop Thursday as part of a series to outline community development goals and guidelines, focusing on west side commercial opportunities.

Thursday's third and final workshop will involve Atlanta Highway, Browns Bridge Road and the Lakeshore Mall area.

"We're going to basically have kind of a visioning workshop where we'll be discussing various issues and opportunities that are there along those corridors," said Matt Tate, Gainesville's planning manager.

The three areas the meeting will center on are home to some of Gainesville's largest commercial properties, providing the city with much of its revenue.

"It is a very large area," Tate said. "You talk about Atlanta Highway, Browns Bridge Road, Lakeshore, that spans quite a big geographical area, so it's going to be a challenge, but we think we can get that vision cast."

The previous two 2030 Gainesville Comprehensive Plan workshops focused on improving business and housing in downtown Gainesville, as well as roads leading into the city.

Representatives from Urban Collage, a design and planning firm facilitating the project, as well as city officials and residents will use the workshop to discuss improvements to the three areas.

"We're looking at ways to improve economic development ... through aesthetics, streetscaping, building placement design," Tate said.

Similar to the previous workshops, Thursdays session will utilize a hands-on approach to improve those commercial areas, Tate said.

"We'll actually have stations where there may be eight to 10 folks that are gathering around one table working on one area and then another table working on another area," he said.

The Lakeshore Mall area is one of the city's most valuable commercial areas, which officials hope will bring an increase in consumers as a result of improvements from the project.

"It's very important to the city of Gainesville and the growth of that property and the future plans of that property," Tate said.

Last September, Coyote Management L.P. purchased the facility and has already made several improvements.

Another valuable commercial area to the city is along Atlanta Highway.

Tate said in addition to the three workshops, officials may have a meeting with 15 to 20 business and property owners of the Atlanta Highway area.

Officials hope to receive input from those owners about "some of the issues they see and some of the changes they would like to see out there," Tate said.

Residents can take an online survey to input any ideas they may have for the future of Gainesville.

The residents and property owners are also encouraged to attend the workshop to present their ideas and concerns.

Tate said the comprehensive plan is still in its initial stages and no plans have been finalized. He added the planning board expects to complete the initial visioning process and review close to the end of the year. The board will then be required to submit a report to the Department of Community Affairs for review and approval.

Thursday's workshop is being held at Gainesville High School from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


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