Gainesville Trail Corridor Purchase Approved (FL)

December 19, 2007
Florida

Contact: Doug Hattaway, (850) 212-6859, Doug.Hattaway@tpl.org or Anne Nelson, (850) 222-7911, Ext. 18, Anne.Nelson@tpl.org

Tallahassee, FL, 12/19/2007: Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet today gave unanimous approval to the State purchase of a key 2.3-mile trail connection in downtown Gainesville.

Because of its tremendous potential as a recreational trail, as well as its connections to existing trails, this corridor has been a priority acquisition for both the City of Gainesville and the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) for over a decade. The trail along 6th street will connect downtown Gainesville with employment centers, neighborhoods, and the University of Florida.

"This trail connects people to each other and to the places they live, and we are proud to be a part of the network of partners who brought this important project to fruition," said Jena Brooks, director of the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.

The corridor is owned by CSX Transportation, Inc. In order to facilitate the acquisition, The Trust for Public Land began negotiations with CSX more than three years ago and has now entered into an option agreement to purchase the corridor. With today's approval by the Governor and Cabinet, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of State Lands, on behalf of OGT, will purchase the property from TPL. The City of Gainesville will be the long-term manager of the property.

"Building a beautiful multi-purpose trail with places to stop along the way will really help this area of the city reinvent itself by connecting new apartment complexes, colleges, as well as other trails such as the Hawthorne, Waldo and Archer," said Pegeen Hanrahan, Mayor of Gainesville. "Preserving this corridor would never have been possible without the help of The Trust for Public Land."

A portion of the corridor runs directly behind the headquarters of the Gainesville Police Department. In order to improve the safety of the trail, the Police Department and OGT are working to exchange a small portion of the corridor with adjacent land that will increase visibility for trail users and allow room for the expansion of the Police Department.

"We are thrilled to have worked on this high-community-value project and look forward to seeing the impact it will have on the city," said TPL project manager Doug Hatttaway.

Previously, TPL has worked to transform former railways into greenways and recreational trails in other cities throughout Florida, including the Pinellas Trail Extension in St. Petersburg, the Sarasota Recreational Trail in Sarasota County, and the Leesburg Recreational Trail in the City of Leesburg.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites - over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information please call 850-222-7911.