GAINESVILLE – Tuesday evening the City of Gainesville asked to table a rezoning request it had before the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board that would allow for the construction of an event venue and restaurant at the intersection of Jesse Jewell Parkway and West Academy Street.
Gainesville’s Community and Economic Development Deputy Director, Matt Tate, told Planning and Appeals Board members Tuesday evening, “The City of Gainesville would request that this item be tabled to the July 13th Planning and Appeals Board meeting. You’ve been all aware there’ve been some issues raised by the Arts Council and we feel like this would give us sufficient time to meet with them and discuss those issues raised by them.”
Gainesville City Manager Bryan was at the meeting and declined to share any details about the concerns expressed by the Arts Council, but did say, “I think there’s concerns about the use and perhaps how loud the venue will be, so I think we’ll just have some more discussion about that and any interference with their operations.”
“We like the Arts Council. We want them to succeed so we don’t want to see anything happen that’s negative toward the Arts Council,” Lackey added.
The request by the city to table the rezoning request came as a surprise to many, including Lora Cooley of Gainesville, who came to the meeting to make citizen public comment on the planned use of the 1.716-acre site and longtime home of the Gainesville Midland locomotive.
Cooley said she had recently hosted a wedding for her daughter at the Arts Council facility which is across Broad Street from the proposed site of the $12-million, 15,000-square foot concert venue, 9,000-square foot restaurant and 8,000-square foot outdoor patio planned by B Entertainment, owner of Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Cooley said, “I just want to insure that we can preserve the integrity of the Arts Council and what that is, that space, because it is so important to Gainesville.”
Cooley said she was also concerned about parking. “There could potentially be 2,000-people at that venue at one time between the arena, the outdoor patio and the restaurant, and employees…plus whatever is going on at the Arts Council and whatever is going on downtown, and I just want to make sure the decisions aren’t rushed.”
City officials, Arts Council leaders and whoever else has concerns about the proposed project now have four additional weeks to re-examine all sides of the important decision as the request to table the item until July 13th was approved unanimously.