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Work starts on final phase of trail system that will connect downtown Gainesville to lake
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By the end of the summer, Gainesville residents will be able to take a leisurely stroll on a sidewalk from downtown to lakeside.

Construction begins this week on the final phase of a trail system that stretches from downtown Gainesville to the shores of Lake Lanier.

Within six months, the project will connect Rock Creek Park at the corner of Academy and Northside Drive to Ivey Terrace Park, creating a solid, 1.8 mile-trail system from Rock Creek Park
to Longwood Park at the edge of Lake
Lanier, said deputy parks director
Michael Graham.

The project also will create a small outdoor event venue at the edge of the city’s downtown square.

Plans for the $395,000 parks expansion include creating a small, earthen amphitheater that could seat approximately 225 people, Graham said.

"It fits itself well, because of the topography (in the park)," Graham said.

The parks department is paying for the majority of the project with a $300,000 grant from the state department of transportation, Graham said.

Contractors have 180 days to complete the work on the park expansion, but Graham said that work should be complete by summer.