SpringHills will eat up area's business potential


Published: Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 2:09 a.m.
After attending the recent City Commission's discussion on the proposed SpringHills development a few comments are in order.
Above and beyond the impact of this project on water, air and environmental concerns a few very concrete issues are apparent. First, SpringHills is much larger in retail space than The Oaks Mall and will by itself encompass the future demand for retail space over the next 10 years in Alachua County. This means that existing business entities will be stifled and any new development could cease. It means that any new city or eastside business/job prospects will not grow or even contract. It could even destabilize the financial resources of Gainesville.
Then there is the issue of how traffic is to be handled. Basically a new mega mall and a housing complex with over 2,000 homes and over 15,000 residents will be placed at the end of 39th Avenue, an already failing road. According to the joint group of city and county planners who presented at the meeting, at least $120 million is needed to handle this. The developer pays half and we taxpayers pay the rest.
This entails six-laning 39th Avenue and even eight-laning at certain intersections. Alternatives that would avoid doing extensive widening are cheaper but the gridlock would be incredible. It was estimated that there would be between 65,000 to 95,000 extra automobile trips per day through this area.
The developer's attorney asks where all the opposition was before this. The concerned citizens in the Millhopper area only heard about this a few months ago and only heard the full implications this week. A change to the character, financial dynamics and already strained road system of this magnitude should not be rushed through without great thought and debate.
Bruce Rogers, Gainesville

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