Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan called 2015 “a very good year for the city,” and 2016 is starting off at a fast pace.
“There are many needs to address as our city continues to grow and move forward,” Dunagan said during a state of the city speech Tuesday evening. “But I want to assure every citizen of Gainesville that your city council and city staff will make sure that your city will operate as efficiently as possible while maintaining the quality of life that our citizens deserve and expect.”
Recent hits for Gainesville
• More jobs: More than $150 million in capital investments from new and expanded industries helped create nearly 800 jobs in the city last year, according to a report from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. The Gainesville area has boasted one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.
• More attractions, events: The Main Street program welcomed more than 100,000 visitors last year to 88 events. And attractions like the Atlanta Botanical Garden, a Smithgall Woodland Legacy, plus renovations to the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, have drawn new excitement to the city. Gainesville Parks and Recreation also opened the 29-acre Linwood Nature Reserve and created a 14-mile water trail system throughout five parks.
• Services: Under the direction of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center, Meals on Wheels hit a milestone when its waiting list was eliminated last year.
Works in progress
• Infrastructure: The Public Works Department is overseeing a comprehensive study of Green Street, a key element in determining options for improving traffic on the major corridor. The city is also committed to facilitating business growth, Dunagan said, by completing a downtown strategic plan to guide and manage new development over the coming decades.
“Efforts are already underway to implement recommendations from this plan, including streetscaping along Bradford and Washington streets, and landscaped medians and crosswalk upgrades on Jesse Jewell and E.E. Butler adjacent to downtown,” Dunagan said.
• Affordable housing development: “Affordable housing remains a priority of the city,” Dunagan said. A few projects, funded by grant money and public-private partnerships, will create new stock along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and along Atlanta Street.