A strip of land that will pave the way for Gainesville’s Midtown Greenway could soon be in the city’s possession.
City Manager Kip Padgett told the City Council on Tuesday that the city will likely close on the CSX railroad property in Midtown on Nov.13.
CSX has cleaned up the property and is awaiting environmental clearance from the state’s Environmental Protection Division to facilitate the sale of the 14 acres of former railroad property to the city, Padgett said.
The news was well-received by Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras.
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" the mayor exclaimed. "We’re going to have us a good old greenway!"
The 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.
It also may run through the property where the city is building the future home of its municipal court, police and fire headquarters near Queen City Parkway.
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 travel from Longwood Park to Elachee Nature Science Center without a car, according to Gainesville Community Development Director Rusty Ligon.
A $100,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will support that goal. Once the city receives the title to the property, it will begin construction on the greenway using the grant, Padgett said.
"We’re ready to use that (grant) and use our own crews to build part of the greenway," Padgett said.