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Gainesville City Council could close 2 downtown alleys for parking
0921city

Gainesville City Council meeting

When: 9 a.m. today
Where: Room A, Georgia
Mountains Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville

Two alleys in downtown Gainesville could soon be closed to the public.

At today’s City Council meeting, Ninth District Opportunity is asking the city to abandon the spaces so nearby businesses can keep the area clean and build six more parking spots.

The first alley stretches 263 feet between Washington and Spring streets, and the second is 167 feet starting at Maple Street and ending at the first alley.

“The purpose is to provide more access and additional parking spaces, which is a good thing for downtown,” Matt Tate, the city’s planning manager, told council members earlier this month. “It’s been mapped for several years as a city alleyway.”

The width of each alley varies, but no section is wide enough to be deemed safe for vehicular traffic, which is set at 10 feet.

Portions of the concrete are “buckled, cracked and generally unmaintained,” the Ninth District petition to the planning department states.

The Washington-Spring streets alley will be split between Peach State Bank & Trust and Ninth District Opportunity. The second alley will be split between Ninth District and nearby property owner Ernest Hyman Reynolds.

“Some of the buildings are right on the property lines, and the area needs to be cleaned up,” Tate said. Missing security lighting also encourages vagrancy and littering, he said.

At the Aug. 10 planning board meeting, there was no opposition to the proposal. The planning board approved the idea but asked that the existing stormwater drainage easement still be maintained by public utilities workers.

“They’re planning to close the alleyways to public access, and it’ll become part of the Ninth District parking to get in and out,”

Brian Rochester of Rochester and Associates told council members on Sept. 7.

“People can’t drive through there, and that’s one of our big concerns. People departing downtown establishments who probably shouldn’t be driving are going down the alleyways and getting stuck,” he said.