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Tuesday December 12th, 2017 2:33PM

Gainesville moves to allow for new sign near downtown square

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Pedestrians headed to the downtown Gainesville square might soon notice an addition to the streetscape: a large monument-type sign identifying the federal building on Spring Street as being named in honor of Sidney O. Smith.

Smith, a lifelong resident of Gainesville, passed away July 14, 2012.

In the spring of 2016 Congress moved to rename the federal building in Smith’s honor and now the city has finalized plans to erect a sign proclaiming that fact.

Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard told members of the Gainesville City Council at their work session Thursday morning that the sign has to be in an area that isn’t a part of the building structure.

“Because the federal courthouse is historic they cannot affix a sign to the building itself,” Sheppard explained.

“If you’re familiar with the area, really, the only place to them to place the sign is in the sidewalk,” Sheppard said regarding the decision to erect the sign adjacent the building’s sole public entrance.

From a legal standpoint the city will need to convey easement privileges to the U.S. General Services Administration.  According to terms of the proposed contract:  “The GSA will construct, install, operate, maintain, repair and replace the sign as necessary.  The GSA will repair any damages to the sidewalk, curb, gutter, pavement and/or utilities if damages occur during installation of the sign.”

“It’ll have a granite/marble base; it’s going to be nearly six-feet tall and seven-feet-four- inches wide,” Sheppard added.  “But we have worked with them to make sure it’s set back from the curb enough so that people can…utilize the sidewalk and still pass through.”

“The easement agreement asks them (GSA) to leave five-and-a-half feet from the edge of the curb to the front of the sign, and the sign itself will be a foot-and-a-half wide.”

Final approval of the resolution is expected at Tuesday’s voting session; construction of the sign by the GSA should begin soon after.

ALSO AT TUESDAY CITY COUNCIL MEETING

First reading and public hearing on a pair of zoning requests will take place at Tuesday’s voting session.

  1. Rezoning of a 5.23-acre tract at the intersection of Enota and Yonah Avenues for the purpose of constructing 15 cottage-style townhomes as a part of Ashton Senior Living Services.

  2. A request by Lanier Technical College to annex 8.154-acres to the new campus currently under construction.

Planning Manager Matt Tate said regarding the annexation of the contiguous tract by the college, “Specifically this would be used for a conference center.”  Tate gave no time frame as to when that project might be undertaken.

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