Complex aids smart growth

Published: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 12:23 a.m.
"We're not in Kansas anymore Toto." Gainesville cannot always remain the same as our newer residents find it when they move here. It sure has changed since I was born at AGH, then the only hospital in the County.
Newer residents should feel welcomed, but we must keep in mind that new people cause a net population gain and that triggers a demand for increased government services on a limited tax-revenue base. With more people moving here, we should also keep in mind that urban sprawl can best be mitigated by allowing in-fill development and redevelopment, or said another way, "build up or build out."
I think the newly proposed Midtown Complex is a positive example of downtown redevelopment in close proximity to the UF campus, the downtown SFCC campus and the public bus core to name only three good reasons for such a plan. I wouldn't be surprised if the people proposing to invest their money in this project are citing 20-story buildings as an opening gambit for negotiating downward to a point the project will still be economically viable and also be acceptable to the community. Let's hope so.
Let's allow the process for negotiation to proceed before we say no to the idea. After all, if the builders are in compliance with zoning and permitting, there's little the city can legally do to stop the project from being built in some form (shades of the University Avenue Burger King drive-up window). But, the governing process can provide options to modify the Midtown plans.
Let's try to adopt an attitude of cooperation so we can have an attractive, functional, downtown addition that contributes to the city's and county's social and economic benefit.

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