Welcome from the Director

There is never a dull moment for the Wild Spaces & Public Places program. As part of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department our vision is to be seen as the keepers and hosts of the places where nature, recreation and culture meet, offering memorable experiences for all. Our mission is to provide and enhance the natural, recreational and cultural facilities and programs that make Gainesville a great place to live, work and visit, and that help sustain the City economically, socially and environmentally. Our goal is to make each experience in our parks and facilities as enjoyable as possible so that visitors will come back again and again. We will accomplish our charge by implementing the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Master Plan and the 352Arts Roadmap. 

2018 was a busy year for our program with many projects completing the planning phases. As we move into 2019, construction is set to begin on a number of new parks and renovations will take place at many existing parks and facilities. It will be an active and exciting time as these projects take shape.

Thank you, citizens, for supporting Wild Spaces & Public Places and allowing us to continue to create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities and acquire and improve environmentally-sensitive lands. We look forward to working with you in the years to come. 

Elizabeth D. Waite (Betsy)
Wild Spaces & Public Places Director 

Wild Spaces & Public Places 2018-2020 Project list by phase* 
(March 2019) 
Conception & Initiation | Project Planning | Design, Permitting, Procurement | Construction
1.       A. Quinn Jones Museum
2.       Albert “Ray” Massey (Westside) Park
3.       Andrew R. Mickle Sr. Pool
4.       Bo Diddley Plaza
5.       Clarence R. Kelly Center
6.       Cofrin Nature Park
7.       Depot Park
8.       Duval Park
9.       Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool
10.    Fred Cone Park
11.    Green Acres Park
12.    Helyx Bridge Pocket Park
13.    Hippodrome Theatre
14.    Ironwood Golf Course
15.    J.J. Finley Park
000 (new neighborhood park)
16.    Lincoln Park
17. Lincoln Yard Trail
18. Morningside Nature Center
19. Northside Park
20. Oakview Park (formerly Kiwanis 00. 000. Girl Scout Park)
21. Possum Creek Park
22. Reserve Park
000 (new neighborhood park)
23. Rosa B. Williams Center/352Artspace
24. Springtree Park
25. SW 47th Avenue Trail
26. SW 40th Boulevard Trail
27. Sweetwater Recreational Trail (SW 16th 000 Ave. to Depot Park)
28. Sweetwater Wetlands Park
29. Woodlawn Park
30. Unity Park (formerly NE 31st Ave. Park)
*Wild Spaces & Public Places runs from 2017 through 2024. The projects shown above are just some of the many great improvements that will be taking place in the upcoming years. 

The Wild Spaces & Public Places program is a small construction management office comprised of skilled professionals who share a passion for Gainesville and its parks. To find out more about the program, the projects coming to a park near you, and to sign up for updates, visit our webpage .
2018 Wild Spaces & Public Places Projects 
Parks and public space projects are generally broken down into four categories: active parks, nature parks, trails, and cultural facilities and programs. In FY 2018 the Wild Spaces & Public Places program touched them all. Here are some of the highlights:

Active Parks 
Installation of geothermal heating and cooling pump units at Westside Pool was completed, allowing the facility to stay open year-round. 

Depot Park saw new shade sails over the playground and a new connector trail to the overflow parking lot. Design began for additional park lighting, electrical upgrades along the promenade, and restriping of the auxiliary parking lot.  

An open house and neighborhood workshop were held for Kiwanis Girl Scout Park (to be renamed Oakview Park ). A site survey and professional design and engineering services began for proposed improvements which include renovation of the building, installation of a new playground, and construction of a creek crossing.  

J.J. Finley Park , a new neighborhood park, is in partnership with the School Board of Alachua County. A Joint Use Agreement was approved and plans include new playground equipment, picnic tables, and a new water fountain.  

Field grading, new bases, home plate and pitching rubber were installed at Lincoln Park . Future plans include a new scoreboard, fencing, bleachers, dugouts, sidewalks, and computer-controlled field lights. 

Two community meetings, a citizen survey, and an evaluation of on-site wetlands preceded the design and permitting process for Northside Park improvements. A multi-generational play area with table games and a patio will be constructed off of the Senior Recreation Center. Additional parking, a new walking trail, and drainage improvements at the disc golf course will also be built. 

After years in the planning stages, conceptual designs for Reserve Park were completed and project permitting took place. This new neighborhood park will include playground equipment, a community garden, traveling rings, an obstacle course with fitness stations, picnic areas, and a memorial to Reserve Soldiers. 

After Fred Cone Park’s track was resurfaced, the design, procurement, and permitting process began for shade structure installation at the spectators’ area and field drainage improvements. 

Community meetings and a conceptual design were completed for Green Acres Park . Improvements to the park include a new playground, picnic pavilion, tables and benches, adult outdoor fitness equipment, and a sidewalk connecting the park amenities.

An open house, online survey, and focus groups were part of the planning process for the new NE 31st Avenue Park (to be renamed Unity Park ). The park will be constructed approximately 200’ to the west of its current location and will have a picnic pavilion, a walking/exercise loop, modern playground equipment, a community garden, and new basketball courts.  

After two open houses, an online survey, and focus group meetings, a final conceptual rendering for a new Clarence R. Kelly Recreation Center was created. Next steps include finalizing the project programming and operation partnerships, and hiring a design team to create construction documents. 

Project planning and procurement took place to add lighting at the Ironwood Golf Course driving range which allows for extended play hours during winter months. 

Nature Parks
Design, permitting, and procurement for a full boardwalk replacement at Duval Park was completed with construction scheduled for the spring of 2019. Duval Park boardwalks have been closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma. 

Project design and permitting began for two observation towers at Sweetwater Wetlands Park . Construction will begin in 2019 to build the Prairie and Solar Towers.
Two open houses and focus groups were instrumental in the park design standards and park signage studies , which will assist with development of design standards for parks and public spaces and wayfinding, including a system of maps, signs, and amenity markers. 

The City’s Arborist began working with the University of Florida to develop an Urban Forestry Management Plan , and an Urban Forest Ecological Analysis was completed. 

Morningside Nature Center added a young Jersey calf and future plans are underway to reconstruct the Timucua huts and replace fencing to support environmental programming. 

Construction began on the SW 47th Avenue Trail and SW 40th Boulevard Trail projects. The paved multiuse trails will connect high-density residential areas to activity centers off of SW 34th Street. 

The area for the Sweetwater Recreational Trail was surveyed and design is set to begin on a multiuse trail from Downtown/Depot Park to the intersection of SW 16th Avenue and Williston Road. 

Conceptual design and planning began on the Lincoln Yard Trail after two community open houses were held to discuss what improvements citizens would like to see in this linear park.  

Cultural Facilities and Programs
Design began on additional improvements to the A. Quinn Jones Museum . Upon completion, permits will be obtained to create an outdoor patio with tables, a sound system, landscaping, and a parking lot upgrade from gravel to asphalt. 

The City is investigating potential cultural opportunities at the old Fire Station #1 on South Main Street. Analysis is underway to better understand what improvements would be needed to transform the building from a fire station to a cultural site. 

The Hippodrome Theatre , a city-owned building which was once the old post office, underwent a number of upgrades including improved ADA access and lighting, and replacing a 35-year-old HVAC unit.  
Number of Projects by Type in Fiscal Years 18-20
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