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Gainesville buys CSX property for greenway
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Gainesville officials have closed on the property key to the construction of a greenway in the Midtown area.

City officials announced the purchase, six years in the making, Monday in a news release.

City officials said in spring they will begin transforming the old rail line into a greenway that will connect to downtown and Lake Lanier.

The property stretches from Mule Camp Springs to Industrial Boulevard and includes part of the old rail yard behind the new Public Safety facility.

For the past few years, city officials have held off on the purchase of the CSX property in midtown until the rail company cleaned up environmental issues in the old railroad maintenance yard.

But once that cleanup was approved by the state’s Environmental Protection Division and a planned Nov. 13 closing date for the sale of the property neared, city officials discovered issues with some of the property lines, which further delayed the city gaining control of the property.

In a statement released Monday, city officials said all issues were taken care of and the city had officially purchased the property.

“This is an exciting time for Gainesville,” Mayor Myrtle Figueras said in the statement.

The CSX property purchase is key to the creation of the Midtown Greenway and the redevelopment of the district as a whole. Once complete, the greenway will include a mile-long, 12-foot-wide concrete path, landscaping and benches.

The future path, which will run from Athens Highway to Mule Camp Springs, will connect the Rock Creek Greenway on the opposite side of downtown to a future Central Hall trail.

The goal of the greenway is to bring more green space to Gainesville’s midtown, and make it possible in the future for someone to go from Longwood Park to Elachee Nature Science Center without a car, according to city officials.

A $100,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will support the construction of the Midtown leg of the greenway.
Gainesville city Manager Kip Padgett did not return a call seeking comment Monday.