GAINESVILLE – A new water feature is coming to midtown Gainesville.
Planned for a vacant 4-acre parcel of land between Banks and Parker Streets, with Gordon Avenue to its west, the 2-plus acre pond will eventually be developed into a park as a part of the Midtown Greenway, the urban section of the Islands to Highlands Trail System.
And while the pond and park will create a bucolic setting in the middle of a bustling city, a place where residents can relax and recreate, it actually is being built to help manage storm water run-off.
Construction of a 180-unit mixed use development is scheduled for the former site of the Hall County Jail, and the completion of the QT gas station, all nearby and all uphill from the new pond, have created the situation of what to do with the rainfall that now will be running off rooftops and paved parking lots instead of percolating into the ground.
Cory Jones, Gainesville’s Stormwater Program Civil Engineer, said, “It’s a regional detention pond and the (drainage) basin spans up from the detention pond up to the new Quik Trip…to Jesse Jewell Parkway…and is basically an extension of our Greenway.”
“And the old jail property would be served by this pond as far as the detention requirements go,” Jones added. “It’ll fill up during wet weather and then slowly release as drier weather happens.”
Jones says the new site will be similar to the retention pond the city built on High Street several years ago, less than 1000-feet to the south. Storm water run-off is held temporarily before being released into Flat Creek in a controlled fashion, then on to Lake Lanier. This system of stormwater management significantly improves the quality of the water entering Lake Lanier.
Project Manager Chris McGauley said the work at the Banks Street site is now underway and should be completed within nine months. City officials initially approved the idea in 2017 and the estimated cost is $2.8-million.
“The site is about 4.6-acres and the pond takes up approximately half of it,” McGauley explained. The pond on High Street is slightly smaller at approximately 1.4-surface acres.
Once the pond is in service city officials plan to develop the area around it into a mini-park, but those specifics have yet to be determined.