PlanFirst Success Story: Gainesville turns heads with park, trail investments

The City of Gainesville paved the way for its residents to get active and have fun seeing the city from a different perspective literally and figuratively. 

In 2021, Gainesville finalized the Midtown Greenway, a collection of parks and facility improvements to revitalize the city’s capacity for recreation. 

This finalization extended the greenway’s existing trail by .25 miles, yielding a half-mile trail along an abandoned rail line bisecting the Midtown Urban Redevelopment Area. 

A new playground was added to an adjacent park alongside Gainesville’s first skate park. Gainesville also performed some streetscaping, including road realignment, sidewalk improvements, and installing pedestrian lights, benches, street trees and shrubs. 

This is a city vision/public investment more than 20-plus years in the making and one Gainesville – city officials and residents alike – is more than happy to realize. 

The Midtown Greenway, a segment of the countywide Highlands to Island Trail, is a multi-phase project that has leveraged local, state and federal funds as it spent years persisting over multiple comprehensive plans. 

The completion of the project broadens the “Central Core” character area, achieving neighborhood beautification, improving pedestrian connectivity and increasing recreational opportunities. 

A public investment of this scope has attracted private investments in kind. 

These investments include the 221-unit Solis Apartments (currently leasing), smaller developments like Grubbs Market, Enclave Townhomes, and the 14-unit Liberty Midland rental houses. 

Gainesville now finds itself a beacon for what persistence does for an ever-developing city.