Residents will have a chance to ask questions Wednesday, July 20, when Gainesville releases a final plan to revitalize the Athens Street/U.S. Highway 129 corridor.
The long-term plan, which was initially proposed in February, involves establishing a new community center in the corridor, connecting thousands of feet of trails and sidewalks and beautifying the area. The city has invested heavily in recent years in its downtown and midtown areas, but soon it will turn to a dilapidated part of town long in need of attention.
The plan will be broken up into short, medium and long-term items, said Jessica Tullar, the city’s housing and special projects manager.
“The short range would be one to three years, and that would be things like creating a committee that would develop a Black history walk, looking at possibly adding and improving crosswalks,” Tullar said. “And then we get into the medium range, three to five years, and an example of that would be to possibly acquire property for a community facility and/or greenway, finalize sidewalk implementation plan and maybe even start some of those sidewalk improvements. Long term, five-plus years would be: construct a community center, complete pedestrian infrastructure.”
Special projects could include extending the Midland Greenway from Midtown to Athens Street, creating a Black history walk, annexing the Beulah Rucker Museum into the city of Gainesville and bringing a grocery store to the area, according to the initial presentation to Gainesville City Council in February.
The eastern part of the city has seen some recent developments including the construction of Butler Park, which is set to open this fall.
Tullar and Leigh Elkins of the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia will present the plan to residents at 6 p.m. July 20 at Fair Street Neighborhood Center at 715 Fair St.
Printed copies of the plan will be available, and the plan will be up on the city’s website, Tullar said.