PlanFirst Success Story: City of Gainesville

DCA’s PlanFirst program recognizes and rewards Georgia communities that clearly demonstrate an established pattern of successfully implementing their Local Comprehensive Plan. Our PlanFirst “Success Story” series highlights these cities and counties by sharing their incredible achievements. You can view all of the communities on our Story Map.

Quality of housing and neighborhood revitalization was a focus in 2019 for the City of Gainesville. Multiple activities to implement the vision and goals of the 2040 Plan were completed, including providing quality affordable housing and expanding economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income residents; improving public infrastructure and increasing public safety and quality of life; and engaging in neighborhood revitalization activities.

For example, Newtown, a historic African American neighborhood, was enhanced due to the rehabilitation of existing housing stock, neighborhood beautification, parks, greenspace, public infrastructure, and economic development opportunities. Another objective was to create a landbank in neighborhoods on the City’s fringes within adjoining unincorporated areas. Last, Code Enforcement conducted property sweeps in five areas which resulted in a reduction of housing blight.

The City used Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to create a greenspace between Newtown neighborhood and adjacent incompatible land use. A vegetated buffer was installed where three vacant, dilapidated buildings existed. Gainesville/Hall County Land Bank Authority (LBA) was established, and they adopted bylaws and initiated the acquisition of two tracts of land for the purposes of developing housing for the community’s workforce.

Additional activities intended to achieve the vision and goals of the 2040 plan completed by the end of 2019 included:

  • Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) was conducted in March 2019 to better understand current conditions and availability of housing in Gainesville, develop strategies to address issues in the report, and identify potential partnerships and collaborations to achieve housing goals
  • Redevelopment of the Green Hunter/Atlanta Street homes, 151 public housing units were transformed into a 252-unit mixed income development that was awarded three rounds of 9% housing tax credits
  • Use of CDBG-Entitlement grant funds to complete two emergency repairs including replacement of the sanitary sewer supply line and roof at one disabled resident’s home and the repair of an on-site septic system at an elderly resident’s home
  • Hosting a community-wide housing festival in June 2019 in partnership with Hall County and other community partners to provide information about various housing and workforce assistance programs

These activities collectively yielded great success and continued to make Gainesville a desirable place to live.