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Tuesday March 2nd, 2021 7:16PM

New Gainesville Police precinct planned for Cleveland Highway corridor

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – An effort to create a stronger presence along the Cleveland Highway corridor by local authorities now includes a plan by the Gainesville Police Department to construct a new precinct on property adjoining the city’s recently completed Fire Station #2.

Tuesday evening the Gainesville City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 0.81-acres fronting Cleveland Highway from America’s Home Place of Gainesville.

City Manager Bryan Lackey told city council the 0.81-acre site sits in front of the new fire facility and to the side of the lengthy fire station driveway but is not a part of the complex; purchasing the property would complete the rectangle of land owned by the city at that location.

“After we had the ribbon cutting for Fire Station #2 we started evaluating that (property)…and asked Chief (Jay) Parrish to take a look at it,” Lackey said.  “He concurred; he thought it was a real good place.”

Lackey continued, “And considering that we do have impact fee funds for public safety already in our accounts that are dedicated for future police use, and the fact that there’s SPLOST 8 monies for a future police facility, we approached the property owner…and after some back-and-forth we did come to an agreement to buy that 0.81-acres for $290,000.”

Construction of the new precinct, however, won’t begin immediately according to Lackey.  “We don’t plan to move on the construction for a few years; (this will be) two to three years into the SPLOST 8 Program; we just started that just a few months ago.”

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said he liked the idea to locate a precinct along Cleveland Highway. “It’s needed on that side of town,” he said.

Parrish agreed.  Following the meeting Parrish said, “We had some issues last year.  There were some violent crimes in that area and we moved assets up there to address that, but with the whole redevelopment of that corridor…we felt like that was the perfect location to start decentralizing our command.”

“This will be our first brick-and-mortar, out-of-the-ground, where we are not occupying another’s building, precinct.  And I just think that’s part of the city’s growth…and this is just one of many precincts in the next decade,” Parrish added.

“We’re just a growing community and it’s important that all of our services aren’t based right here on Queen City Parkway.”

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