With a crane putting a 16-ton monument snugly into place Tuesday, workers now can go full steam completing improvements to historic Roosevelt Square in downtown Gainesville.
“This is a real critical point in the process,” said landscape architect Dale Jaeger of the Jaeger Co. “We get rid of the crane and then all the rest of the work can begin.”
Renovations to the square, which sits between the city administration building and the Brenau Downtown Center, are scheduled to be finished in November. A public dedication is being planned for Dec. 8.
The new monument, which will be part of an elaborate water feature, will honor public safety workers — an idea pushed by area Rotary Club members. Their efforts inspired Gainesville officials looking to make other improvements in the square.
“There is some old, uneven concrete and sidewalk out there,” said Barclay Fouts, project manager with the city’s Department of Water Resources, in June, before the project started.
In addition to giving the public area a fresh look, city officials also have said they hope it will draw community events, group activities such as yoga, concerts, fashion shows and student activities.
The old Gainesville City Hall is on one end and a monument to President Franklin D. Roosevelt is on the other. Roosevelt visited twice — once after the deadly tornado of 1936 and again about a year later after rebuilding from the storm was completed.
The square also features a natural gas-fueled eternal flame, which was donated Nov. 11, 1969, by the Eugene Brown Post 521 and Paul E. Bolding Post 7 of the American Legion.
The flame is out for now but will be relighted once the square is refurbished. The FDR monument also will “get refreshed,” Jaeger said.
“The historical elements that are here are being very respected,” she said