News

Gainesville CRA Releases FY 2017 Annual Report

Digital and paper versions are available.

Gainesville CRA Releases FY 2017 Annual Report

Each year, the Gainesville CRA releases an annual report of activities and finances for the previous fiscal year. The latest report covers FY 2017, which ran from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017.

This year's report looks at our current projects through the six themes that emerged through the Community Vitality Report in 2017.

The report is available to view or download on our website, and paper copies are available at the CRA Office, the informational kiosk at Bo Diddley Plaza, and the front desk of City Hall during normal business hours.

Important Notice: CRA Building Closed for Maintenance

The CRA office will be temporarily closed Monday, March 26 and the morning of Tuesday, March 27. CRA staff will be working out of the Bo Diddley Plaza Green Room.

Important Notice: CRA Building Closed for Maintenance

Staff members can be reached on their mobile phones during this time, or by calling the Bo Diddley Plaza kiosk at (352)377-5444. Re-entry into the CRA building is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 10am.

The CRA is Seeking Advisory Board Members!

Are you interested in serving on a dynamic board that will set the direction of your community for years to come?

The CRA is Seeking Advisory Board Members!

The Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency is seeking members for its following boards: Eastside Redevelopment Advisory Board (2) and Fifth Avenue Pleasant Street Redevelopment Advisory Board (2). Applicants can apply online at the City's website. The deadline for applying is March 30, 2018. Contact the CRA at 352-393-8200 for more information.

Construction of Merieux Facility at Cornerstone Has Begun!

Construction is underway on the new 22,700 square-foot Merieux Nutrisciences facility at Cornerstone, located at 2153 SE Hawthorne Road.

Construction of Merieux Facility at Cornerstone Has Begun!

The 13.6 acre Cornerstone site is owned by the City of Gainesville and is being redeveloped by the CRA as part of its Gainesville East Initiative. Cornerstone is a commercial focused mixed-use complex with space for up to ten new buildings, aiming to retain GTEC graduates and attract new businesses to the area. In 2017 Concept Companies purchased the parcel where Merieux will locate their new facility. Merieux will relocate from their current location near Archer Road to East Gainesville, and expect to create as many as 30 jobs in the next two years.

“It’s a great day for Gainesville! We’re delighted to see Merieux Nutrisciences growing and building a new facility at Cornerstone. With the assistance of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, the support and vision of the City of Gainesville’s leadership and commission, a very capable development partner in Concept Companies and the hard work of CRA staff the expansion of the GTEC area on Hawthorne Road is happening.” –Sarah Vidal-Finn, CRA Director

The site is currently home to the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC), a 30,000 sq. ft. business incubator owned by the City and managed by Santa Fe College.

A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center to Receive Cultural Heritage Award

Representatives from the Florida Redevelopment Association will present the award on Monday, October 13.

The A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center was selected to receive the Florida Redevelopment Association’s (FRA) Roy F. Kenzie award for Cultural Enhancement. Each year the FRA recognizes outstanding efforts by redevelopment agencies throughout the state. Winners demonstrate innovation and positive impact on their communities and inspire other Florida Communities. Representatives from FRA will be presenting the award to the CRA Board and the community at the museum on Monday November 13th at 3:00 pm. All are welcome to attend.

Depot Park is Recognized at the International Making Cities Livable Conference

Depot Park was recently recognized at the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Depot Park is Recognized at the International Making Cities Livable Conference

Depot Park was selected for the final jury for Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health, and Equity.

The purpose of the Making Cities Livable movement is to enhance the well-being of all inhabitants, strengthen community, improve social and physical health, and increase civic engagement by sustainably reshaping the built environment of our cities, suburbs, towns and villages.

For more information on International Making Cities Livable, visit their website at: http://www.livablecities.org/

Heartwood Groundbreaking Ceremony to be held October 11

The groundbreaking ceremony at Heartwood will take place on October 11, 2017 from 9 to 10:30am.

Heartwood Groundbreaking Ceremony to be held October 11

Heartwood, located at 1717 SE 8th Avenue, is a new, 15 acre neighborhood located in the heart of East Gainesville. The property is owned by the City and is being redeveloped by the Gainesville CRA.

The CRA worked closely with the community on the naming, branding, and concept of the neighborhood. The master plan includes 34 detached homes, nature trails, a stormwater pond and other amenities. Heartwood has four house models to choose from, each thoughtfully designed with a modern meets traditional feel that makes the homes both desirable and competitive in the current housing market. Heartwood will be the first new housing development in the area in years. This groundbreaking celebrates the beginning of construction on all the site work necessary to turn the vacant property into a single family neighborhood. O’Steen Brothers will start construction later this month and the lots are expected to go on sale in January of 2018.

Improving the Visitor Experience at Depot Park

Improving the Visitor Experience at Depot Park

As Depot Park approaches its one year anniversary, additions that will improve the visitor experience are underway. Over the past year, the City of Gainesville’s Community Redevelopment Agency (GCRA) and the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) have been collecting feedback from park visitors in an effort to make the park even more successful, enjoyable, and safe. Here are some changes you can expect to see in the upcoming months.

This summer, several sunscreen dispensers will be installed in Depot Park as part of the city-wide sun protection campaign. As one of the first projects funded through Wild Spaces Public Places, the CRA has been working with the playground design team on the addition of a series of permanent shade sail structures in the children’s play area. These shade sails will provide relief from the summer sun where it is needed most. Additional relief from the summer heat can be sought at the chilled water bottle filler and fountain that will be installed adjacent to the public restrooms in July.

With events and activities now in full swing throughout the park, the importance of providing additional access options to the Depot Building from the plaza area has been recognized. A new ADA compliant ramp will be added to the southern side of the building. Installation is anticipated to start in July.

If you have been to the park recently, you may have noticed a change in the stormwater pond. The Department of Public Works (DPW) recently replaced the fountain. The new addition propels water more than twice as high!

The GCRA,PRCA, and DPW look forward to celebrating the one year anniversary of Depot Park with you in August!

Museum Coordinator Chosen for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center

Museum Coordinator Chosen for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center

Desmon Duncan-Walker is the new Museum Coordinator for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center. She is the daughter of Iris Duncan and George Walker, Jr. and the granddaughter of Collins and the late Gloria Chestnut Duncan and the late George, Sr. and Alma McDonald Walker. With a local family history that points back to pioneer citizens of Gainesville, her roots in Alachua County run deep.

City Manager Announces Selection of CRA Director

City Manager Announces Selection of CRA Director

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Gainesville City Manager Anthony Lyons is pleased to announce the selection of Sarah Vidal-Finn to lead the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). As director, Vidal-Finn will lead redevelopment efforts in the city’s urban core.

Vidal-Finn most recently served in an interim director capacity for the CRA. She played a pivotal role in the development and execution of Depot Park and the Bo Diddley Plaza and initiatives that will unfold in 2017, such as Northwest First Avenue streetscape, Power District redevelopment, the Heartwood neighborhood development (former Kennedy Homes site) and the Cornerstone (GTEC area) expansion.


City Manager Anthony Lyons also serves as the executive director of the Gainesville CRA. He hired Vidal-Finn to join the CRA team in 2009. “Sarah’s experiences at the CRA have shaped her intuitive grasp of innovative concepts that drive redevelopment of our urban areas. I expect that she will continue to enjoy great success as CRA director,” stated City Manager Lyons.


Before her appointment as interim director, Vidal-Finn was the CRA manager with oversite of budgeting and procurement and improvement of operational processes within the CRA. She also managed redevelopment projects, and has successfully completed multiple capital projects during her tenure. Prior to joining the Gainesville CRA, Vidal-Finn was the construction coordinator for the University of Florida Purchasing Services Department, where she supported the university’s procurement and contract management for construction-related services for Facilities Planning & Construction, Physical Plant Department, Housing and the Institute of Food & Agricultural Service.

“It’s a true privilege when your profession aligns with your passion,” noted Vidal-Finn. “The CRA plays a big role in ‘what’s next’ for Gainesville and I look forward to continued partnership with the communities we serve to deliver projects that result in real economic impacts for our city.”


Vidal-Finn is a licensed Florida real estate sales associate, with a background in commercial real estate and development and a certified housing development finance professional by the National Development Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Florida and is a fourth generation Gator with significant family history in the Gainesville community.