GAINESVILLE – Architectural plans for the redesign of Roosevelt Square were finally presented to the Gainesville City Council members at their work session Thursday morning.
“Finally presented” because in civic matters implementation of a great idea can sometimes be stymied by its own popularity.
Such has been the case with a plan to honor public safety employees put together by the three Rotary Clubs in Hall County (Hall County, Gainesville and South Hall) nearly three years ago. As news of the Rotary tribute spread, others wanted to join in and the project began to mushroom.
The Rotarian's request to place the tribute on a much-under-utilized and often-forgotten expanse of real estate nestled among government buildings was well received.
Gainesville Communications & Tourism Director Catiel Felts said, “After much discussion, that really got the City to thinking: ‘What could we do to really make this the premier destination that it should be?’ This is one of the most historic locations we have in the City of Gainesville.”
Felts introduced landscape architect Dale Jaeger of the Jaeger Company who presented Council with the final conceptual drawings for the patch of land situated just outside the meeting room’s windows.
“The historical significance of this space made us look back before we went forward,” Jaeger told council members. “We see it (Roosevelt Square) being real important in linking downtown to midtown, linking the buildings to one another. We want to have a lot of people passing through the space as well as coming to the space.”
Another factor enlarging the scope of redesigning Roosevelt Square and placement of the public safety employees’ tribute by the Rotary Clubs is the acquisition of the former Georgia Mountain Center by Brenau University and major role it will play in the school’s future. That adds another demographic to the project.
But at long last the Rotary Clubs’ plan to install a public service employee tribute appears to be within sight.
The tentative sequence of events for the refurbishing of Roosevelt Square now calls for City Council approval and budget confirmation to happen in June, completion of necessary documents and paperwork by September, and bidding and contractor selection concluded in November.
Jaeger says with four-to-six months of construction work – dependent upon weather – the site should open to the public in the early summer of 2016.
Now while it appears that the project is at long last moving forward, there is still one hurdle left to clear: estimated cost to the city for restoring Roosevelt Square is placed at $952,200. Whether or not that will stymie the effort remains to be seen. We will keep you posted.
NOTE: Anyone wishing to purchase a “dedication brick” to help the Rotary Clubs with construction of the monument may still do so. Visit their website at: thatsmybrick.com/rotaryproject