Residents in Gainesville no longer have to bug their City Council representative or speculate with neighbors about the construction going on across the street, downtown or at school. The city’s new virtual construction map puts all current projects in one place with site plans attached to show the public what all is being developed in the city.
The map operates similarly to Google Maps or other GIS systems where users can move the map by clicking and dragging and can zoom in or out throughout the city limits. Every project under construction in the city is shown with a numbered pin and is named. There are currently 52 projects including public, private and school construction.
Each one also has site plans attached, and most have renderings to show what it should look like when completed. Click the project’s name on the left side of the screen where they are all in a numbered list, or click the right lot on the map to get more details.
Caleb Davidson, the city’s urban designer, has been working on the project for almost two years, basically since he started working for the city.
“It’s been something that they wanted to do for a while,” Davidson said. “They just didn’t have the resources or the staff to do it.”
The city will update the map monthly adding new projects once plans have been approved by the city and taking off projects once they have been completed. The city has talked about doing a similar map to show upcoming events in the city, Davidson said, but details are still being worked out. For now, they don’t want to add more functions to this map, because it would get too busy and less user friendly, he said.
Since debuting the map to City Council members at their work session on Sept. 16, Davidson said, the map has been one of the most viewed pages on the city’s website. Council members said the project would help them have a place to refer residents, because they are frequently asked about different construction projects around the city.
Hall County is interested in investigating a similar project, said spokeswoman Katie Crumley, but it would be more difficult for them than a smaller jurisdiction like Gainesville.
“The number of construction projects going on in unincorporated Hall County is exponentially larger simply due to the County’s size in comparison to any of its municipalities,” Crumley wrote in an email Friday, Sept. 24. “That being said, researching and implementing something similar on our end would take considerable time.”
Through the project, Davidson said he got a better grasp of the city’s growth. The map shows projects clustered around downtown, New Holland and along Highway 53 and Pearl Nix Parkway.
The project can benefit residents and those looking to develop in the city, so they can get a clearer picture of what’s already in progress.
“You get a good idea that there’s a lot of people that want to be in Gainesville right now,” Davidson said.