Special Projects Division
The Community Development Department also conducts studies and administers special projects related to growth and land development. Various special projects the Department is currently working on or have implemented are listed here. For additional information regarding Special Projects listed, please contact Jessica Tullar, Special Projects Manager or Rusty Ligon, Director of Community Development, via email or by calling (770) 531-6570.
The City of Gainesville has been working since 2000 to redevelop a unique section of the city, known as Midtown. Development concepts include renovating the historic railroad depot, establishing an entertainment district, converting the CSX rail line into a greenway, installing streetscaping along key streets, providing mixed-income housing, and protecting some of the area's valuable historic resources.
Aside from the development of the Public Safety Complex at Queen City Parkway and Banks Street, a strategic public investment by the City in Midtown is the conversion of the abandoned CSX rail line into a greenway and the building of a park. The Midtown Greenway and park have improved the aesthetics of the area and once completed and connected with the Central Hall Trail, will provide an alternative mode of transportation, recreational opportunities, and pedestrian connections to the downtown square, the Elachee trail system, and the Rock Creek Greenway.
Special Financing Tools
The City of Gainesville has two Tax Allocation Districts (click here for maps), one of which was established for the Downtown/Midtown areas and the second for the Lakeshore Mall. The TAD is an economic development mechanism available to local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements as a way to enable private development in a designated area. TADs serve as a powerful economic incentive to encourage development in projects that likely would not happen without the incentive. For more information on TADs, please contact Jessica Tullar or Rusty Ligon.
TADs, which are targeted to areas needing redevelopment, reinvest property taxes from a new development back into the project to attract redevelopment. In simple terms, the increased property taxes that would be generated by a development's improvements are temporarily used to fund those improvements. Once the improvements are paid for, a development's taxes are then distributed traditionally.
Similar to the TAD for the Downtown/Midtown Gainesville, the City has established an Opportunity Zone to promote job growth for the same area. An Opportunity Zone can be established in certain older commercial and industrial areas. In these designated areas, new jobs that are created can now qualify for a state job tax credit per job. The incentive which is available for new or existing businesses which create and sustain two or more jobs are credits which can be taken against the business's income tax liability and state payroll withholding. The credits are available for areas designated by DCA as "Opportunity Zones". For more information, please contact Jessica Tullar or Rusty Ligon.
There are currently two NPUs established within the City of Gainesville, including the Fair Street NPU and the Bradford-Ridgewood NPU. A Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) is designated by city governments as a neighborhood or group of neighborhoods, whose residents have more local input on things that are or are likely to affect the area. NPUs are organized differently in each city, but generally each is headed by a volunteer group of civic leaders and acts somewhat like a larger-scale homeowners association.
In late 2005, the City contracted with a private consultant to develop a framework for the establishment of a Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) program as an institutional mechanism for continual, detailed land use planning that will be a bottom-up planning approach. Focusing on various approaches of how to establish and maintain a NPU, the analysis addresses the overall planning and options for establishing a NPU program. More specifically, the report provides information on how to draw boundaries for neighborhoods so as to ensure a cross-section of area representation in each NPU planning process and how to “codify” the outcomes of neighborhood planning processes, suggesting such ways as land use refinement plans and design guidelines.
The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 requires all federally assisted projects in urban areas over 50,000 population to be the product of a continual, comprehensive, and cooperative planning process. The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization (GHMPO) is the intergovernmental transportation planning body for all of Hall County which was organized to administer the required planning process for the Gainesville Urbanized Area as identified in the 2000 U.S. Census. And, it is the GHMPO which conducts the Gainesville-Hall Transportation Study that is the federally-mandated transportation planning process.
An external website for the Gainesville-Hall County Metropolitan Planning Organization (GHMPO) contains detailed information about the organization and administration of the GHMPO, and discusses various projects and studies administered by the GHMPO. Also contained on the GHMPO website are the organization's planning documents, such as the Transportation Master Plan and Bike/Pedestrian Plan.