Banner Week for the Envision Alachua Sector PlanNovember 22nd, 2015 by gainesvillechamber
Greater Gainesville took two major steps to seize the future of economic prosperity, business growth and community progress offered by the Envision Alachua Sector Plan. The Alachua County Planning Commission and the Hawthorne City Commission made decisions to move the plan forward.
On November 18—after a Chamber-led news conference, during which Chamber Board Chair John V. Carlson called on the County Planning Commission to send the EASP on to the full County Commission with a recommendation for approval—about 46 business community leaders filled the Jack Durrance Auditorium for the Planning Commission’s first public hearing on the plan. After hearing comments from nearly 40 business community leaders and members of the public, the Commission decided to reconvene the following day to continue the discussion. The following evening, after further discussion, Planning Commission Chair Jennifer Springfield and Commission members Eric Drummond, Susan McQuillan and Evan Pitts voted to recommend approval for the EASP.
“The County Planning Commission’s decision has moved this region a step closer to being able to seize high-value opportunities that currently are outside of our grasp,” said Chamber Board Chair John Carlson. “In Greenville, I saw the prosperity that a project like Envision Alachua can create, and I am elated that we are closer to achieving that prosperity.”
On November 17th, the Hawthorne City Commission unanimously voted to annex 1,200 acres of land owned by Plum Creek into the city. Combined, the two properties are planned to accommodate 2.8 million square feet of light industrial space, 150,000 square feet of commercial development and 800 residential unites, could be shovel-ready in 2017.
“The Hawthorne job center is envisioned to attract and support Advanced Manufacturing opportunities,” said Susan Davenport. “This manufacturing industry is one that could help to greatly reduce the income gap that plagues Greater Gainesville and provide a clear path to advancement for Alachua County’s underemployed citizens.”
As early as January 2016, the County will hold a public hearing on the transmittal of the EASP. The plan will be sent to the state for review and, depending on the outcome, go back to the County Commission for final adoption.