City undergoing many construction projects


Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.

I bring you greetings on behalf of my colleagues on the Gainesville City Commission. I want to tell you a little bit about what's going on in the city, a bit about where my passions lie, and finally, how to advocate to the city about your own passions.

There are major construction projects underway in the city. I am providing the names of the contractors because they owe the community a fair share of minority sub-contracts. The projects are:

Gainesville Police Department headquarters: The building at NW 8th Avenue and 6th Street is under construction by Gilbane/Harvard-Jolly, the design build team. Progress on the new 40,915-square-foot two-story building, along with the renovation of the 8,766-square-feet physical training facility, is moving at a fast pace. GPD is excited about occupying the facility by April 2014. I have also asked Police Chief Tony Jones to consider a gun training and target practice area for women.

RTS maintenance facility: Staff applied for and was awarded $18 million to complete the facility and a new administration building off S. Main Street in the Depot Avenue area near the existing building. Federal funding will total nearly $38 million. The city is very grateful to U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown, D-Fla., for ensuring that these dollars came to Gainesville. The contractor is Charles Perry and Associates.

RTS fleet maintenance and operations facility project: The City Commission approved a financing plan, selected Parish/McCall as the contractor and approved the design plans for construction of the consolidated fleet maintenance building. Construction is now underway.

Depot Park: Construction on the Depot Park stormwater and pump station project is underway. Completion is expected by December. A lined stormwater pond will be included at the Depot Park site located on the southeast corner of Depot Avenue and Main Street. Amenities will include a concrete retaining wall and forebays, a braided stream, a pervious trail and creation and restoration of wetland areas. This project also constructs a stormwater pump station at the Sweetwater Branch Creek crossing of Depot Avenue (south side) just east of Southeast Fourth Street. The city currently is in hot pursuit of a tenant or tenants for a cafe and gift shop that will be located in Depot Park.

Payne's Prairie SheetFlow Restoration Project: The $26 million project represents a partnership between the city, Alachua County, St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, other state agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is intended to help clean stormwater runoff by restoring natural water sheetflow to over 1,300 acres of formerly impacted wetlands in Paynes Prairie, create about 125 acres of a high quality wetland habitat, provide recreational and environmental education opportunities, improve water quality in the Alachua Sink and the Floridan aquifer and increase the acreage of conservation lands within Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

Cone Park Branch Library: This is a collaborative effort between the city and the Alachua County Library District Board of Directors to build a new library at the park. The facility at 2841 E. University Ave. is adjacent to the Eastside Recreation Center and in front of the new Cone Park state-of-the-art track. It will be completed by the end of the year. The new 10,000-square-feet facility will include a quiet reading room, public meeting space, teen area, children's area, Snuggle-Up Center, 18-computer work stations, Wi-Fi hot spots and an expanded book collection.

Cone Park outdoor lighting: The installation of new lighting around the 440-meter rubberized track and other areas at Cone Park began in May and have already been completed.

If you have issues for which you need to advocate, send an email to citycomm@cityofgainesville.org or schedule an appointment with a commissioner by calling 352-334-5015. I can be reached via email at rawlsyh@cityofgainesville.org.

As your District 1 commissioner, I am humbled to be entrusted to serve the interests of this community. I am here and available to you. Please know that I want you to contact me if you have issues that I can assist you with.

Yvonne Hayes Hinson-Rawls is a member of the Gainesville City Commission and represents District 1, which consists of residents in east Gainesville.

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