GAINESVILLE - A University of Georgia architecture student's improvement ideas caught Gainesville City Council's attention Thursday.
City Planning Director Rusty Ligon explained those ideas involving streetscape expansion and new building guidelines to make downtown more attractive. The student, Elizabeth Lawandales, recently completed a 10 week improvement project with city officials. Lawandales provided technical expertise in park and green space planning, corridor entrance design and streetscape improvements as a Downtown Renaissance Fellow.
"What we're viewing this as is an expansion of what we've already done downtown," Ligon said. "There was a lot of work already done back in the 1990's to add streetscaping features to the downtown square. We want to build off of that and move that onto other streets like Bradford Street and Washington Street and continue those same treatments. Elizabeth has given us some detailed design on how that might look."
Council members viewed a booklet that displayed Lawandales' concepts for new building design as well as sprucing up streets and sidewalks to make them wider and add trees. She recommended a concept called 'FRESH'.
"The 'FRESH' idea came from Pratt-Cassidy, a University of Georgia professor, and it has been presented to many communities around the state to help guide them with infill development," Ligon added. "You've got your public realm with public investment in streetscaping and private property and we want to provide guidance on how that should develop."
Implementing those 'FRESH' ideas for downtown might lead to just guidelines or Council might decide to require them in an ordinance.
"We'll have to talk to Council to see what their will is," Ligon said. "You could take those guidelines and you could develop city code from it, adopt it, and it would become the law."
According to Ligon Gainesville was one of only three cities in Georgia selected for Renaissance Project design assistance.