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Gainesville gets started on Midtown greenway
Mike Maxwell, with the city of Gainesville Public Works Department, smooths out concrete on part of the new Midtown greenway along Banks Street. - photo by Tom Reed

After more than six years of waiting, there is finally visible progress on a greenway in Gainesville’s Midtown.

City officials say crews from the Public Works Department have completed paving on an approximately 400-foot stretch of the walkway, which will bring more green space to a traditionally industrial area and connect pedestrians coming from Lake Lanier or Gainesville’s downtown to future Midtown redevelopment.

“We’re really pleased with the progress that we’ve made at this point and just really excited about getting the entire thing finished,” Gainesville’s Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard said. “It’s been a process that’s been in progress for a really long time.”

The project has been in the planning stages for more than six years, but the former CSX railroad property required extensive environmental cleanup before the city could purchase the land on which the trail will run.

City officials completed the purchase in December of 2009. Construction began late last month and should be complete within a year and a half, Sheppard said Friday.

When complete, the 12-foot-wide concrete path will stretch from Mule Camp Springs to Industrial Boulevard and will include part of the old rail yard behind the city’s new Public Safety facility.

City officials have obtained grants to pay for landscaping and benches along the trail, including a $100,0000 grant from Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources to pay for materials.

The future path will connect the Rock Creek Greenway on the opposite side of downtown to a future Central Hall trail.

So far, crews have paved the first phase of the trail, which stretches from Parker Street to Banks Street.

City officials don’t plan to open the trail until all of it is complete, Sheppard said.