A wonderful opportunity is waiting with open arms for the governments of Gainesville and Hall County. It’s the piece of pavement now used for parking on the north side of the downtown parking deck and Brenau University.
The opportunity is for those two governments to purchase that property together and further enhance the open, inviting atmosphere of the square. Downtown Gainesville does not need another building. It does not need more parking. We already have the great parking deck, which, I understand, was built to take on two more floors, if needed.
What the square needs, I firmly believe, is more green space. If the local governments owned that piece of land for sale, they could beautify that area with trees and greenery and tie it in with walkways to Roosevelt Park. The downtown needs to feel more like a park, with open space.
It already is headed in that direction. Retail stores are doing well; the area has good restaurants; several downtown events have been successful, even young people have reasons to visit the square now. The square is considerably more welcoming that it’s been in years.
I have wonderful memories as a little girl of visiting Santa when he flew in downtown, and later on taking part in the poultry parades that marched through the town. But the square really was a square back then, with buildings on every side. Today, that one open side gives the area a special park-like feel. But it could be even better.
The city and county have been accused in the past of not working together for the betterment of all of us taxpayers. Well, here’s their chance to show tangible cooperation. Let’s do something that will make our thriving downtown square an even more inviting place. The opportunity is there, just waiting.
Rosemary W. Dodd