Director's Note
We look forward to the near future when we will once again gather with neighbors to enjoy our parks, community plazas, theaters and the many special places within our city. Perhaps no other circumstance could better elevate our appreciation for these treasured spaces. We could all use some positive news right now and hope that the projects in this report will help to reveal our brightest future. 

 2019 was a big year for Wild Spaces & Public Places. New projects began, existing initiatives made strides in planning and design, others were in construction while many more came to fruition. The new neighborhood park at J.J. Finley Elementary School is a success many years in the making — supporting the City’s goal of a park being within a 10-minute walk of every neighbor. The SW 47th Ave. and SW 40th Blvd. trails now provide a convenient path for cycling and walking, connecting dense residential areas to activity centers. The completion of the Duval Park boardwalks and improvements at Fred Cone Park and Lincoln Park highlight recreational opportunities for East Gainesville. Planning for transformative projects such as the new Clarence R. Kelly Community Center laid the groundwork for great things to come. Smaller projects saw great success, as well. Depot Park’s new pedestrian trail now connects to overflow parking; Barbara Higgins Park has new benches, signage and tables; and lighting improvements at the city’s golf course allow for extended hours of play on the driving range. These are just a few of the projects that took place this past year.  

Wild Spaces & Public Places projects are born in your neighborhoods and realized through collaboration. Thank you, neighbors, for volunteering on boards, attending public meetings and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and for sharing your ideas through surveys, emails and social media. Your passion for this community is unprecedented. 

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

Fiscal Year 2019
 FY 2019 funds received

FY 2019 funds expended

Vendors Utilized
in Fiscal Year 2019

Making a local impact
Wild Spaces & Public Places strives to support the local economy and our neighbors.
We make every effort to work with small, local and diverse businesses.

Some vendors qualify for more than one classification
What else was underway 
during Fiscal Year 2019?
Wild Spaces & Public Places projects move through a series of development phases leading up to our neighbors being able to enjoy the end result. In FY 2019, important projects crossed the finish line while many others moved through early stages of development. 

Our project phases are broken down into four categories: Conception & Initiation; Project Planning; Design, Permitting & Procurement; and Construction. 
The process is fluid, with projects sometimes moving through two or more phases in the course of a fiscal year. 

From community engagement efforts used to guide concepts, to construction that marks the realization of projects that are years in the making, we have highlighted a few of the many things in progress during FY 2019. These projects continue to move forward to become valued resources for the Gainesville community.

Conception & Initiation

The scope and purpose of a project is defined in this phase. City Commission approval is also sought. 
Howard Bishop Middle School Recreation Area — Residents were invited to discuss proposed plans and future improvements. 
Springtree Park — Neighbors engaged in open discussion and were invited to complete a survey to vote on the park amenities. 
A core study evaluating the possibility of a cultural center near the downtown area began in this fiscal year.

Project Planning

Community outreach continues in the planning phase to understand the unique needs of a neighborhood. Site-specific information is gathered, such as topographic surveys and ecological studies. 
Clarence R. Kelly Community Center — Two open houses were held to allow for voting and discussion of future improvements. 
Unity Park — A neighborhood meeting invited residents to ask questions and vote on their favorite playground equipment. 
Oakview Park — Neighbors were presented with a renovation plan and gathered signatures to allow for the park’s name change. 

Design, Permitting & Procurement
This phase involves working with design teams to generate construction drawings, apply for permits and create bid packages. Design updates are presented to the City Commission for authorization to proceed. 
Northside Park — 40 additional parking spaces and construction of a Generations Play Zone and new playground. 
T.B. McPherson Recreation Complex — Demolition and reconstruction of tennis courts. 
Lincoln Yard Trail — A new trail and pocket park.
Sweetwater Wetlands Park — Trail improvements for ADA accessibility. 
Bo Diddley Community Plaza — Accessibility improvements to high use pedestrian areas. 
The Hartman House — Renovation of the 1890’s era farm house at Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park into a nature center.
  Construction improvements, status updates to neighbors and quality assurance inspections take place during this phase. 
Reserve Park — A new neighborhood park with modern play equipment, a community garden, public art, an obstacle course and picnic areas. 
Fred Cone Park — Drainage and turf improvements on the track infield. 
Hippodrome Theatre — A new air conditioning system, speaker system, interior and exterior lighting and ADA assistive listening devices. 
Green Acres Park — A new playground, fitness stations, community garden fence and public art.

Project Locations

Completed as of January 2020
In 2019 many projects were successfully completed with several more in the works. Since work continues after the end of the fiscal year, we have captured a snapshot of the projects and their status as of January 2020.

Project Locations
Project Phases by Color
Conception & Initiation | Project Planning | Design, Permitting, Procurement | Construction

In Progress as of January 2020
1 A. Quinn Jones Museum
2 Albert “Ray” Massey Park
3 Andrew R. Mickle Sr. Pool
4 Bo Diddley Community Plaza
5 Clarence R. Kelly Community Center
6 Cofrin Nature Park
7 Depot Park
8 Duval Park (Phase II)
9 Dwight H. Hunter Pool
10 Helyx Bridge Pocket Park
11 Hippodrome Theatre
12 Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Center
13 Howard Bishop Middle School Recreation Area
14 Lincoln Park 
15 Lincoln Yard Trail
16 Morningside Nature Center
17 Northside Park
18 Oakview Park (formerly Kiwanis Girl Scout Park)
19 Possum Creek Park
20 Reserve Park (new neighborhood park)
21 Rosa B. Williams Center/352Artspace
22 Springtree Park
23 SW 47th Avenue Trail 
24 Sweetwater Recreational Trail (SW 16th Ave. to Depot Park)
25 Sweetwater Wetlands Park
26 T.B. McPherson Recreation Complex 
27 Woodlawn Park
28 Unity Park (formerly NE 31st Ave. Park)
Gainesville City Commission
Lauren Poe (Mayor)
David Arreola
Adrian Hayes-Santos
Helen Warren
Gail Johnson
Gigi Simmons
Harvey Ward

Want to know more?
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. For more information about the program, the projects coming to a park near you, and to sign up for updates, visit our webpage at:
For questions, or to request a printed copy of this report, contact Betsy Waite at 352-393-8187 or email: