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Depot Park Groundbreaking Ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 2

Depot Park Groundbreaking Ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 2

Depot Park aerial- Credit GPD Ben TobiasConstruction on downtown’s eagerly-awaited, 32-acre Depot Park will begin next week. Named after the 1860s-era train station that served as Gainesville’s main railroad hub for 60 years, the urban park will showcase the city’s cultural heritage. 

This $5.9 million park construction phase will include: a football-field sized children’s play area with a Sweetwater Branch Creek-themed splash pad; a water’s edge promenade designed to host food truck rallies, art galleries, festivals and more; outdoor grills and picnic pavilions; dramatic entry features; nature trails and more.

This current phase of development, led by the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and managed by Oelrich Construction, will employ 17 subcontracting firms and create more than 115 jobs. The completed park will open to the public in fall 2016. Project financing was supplemented by a mixture of federal, state and regional grants. The park design team includes JBrown Professional Group, JOLA, Inc., Bender & Associates, John Searcy & Associates and Southard Engineering.

Depot Park Master Plan“Depot Park will be Gainesville’s next major landmark,” said Gainesville CRA Interim Director Sarah Vidal-Finn. “The park is catalyzing downtown economic growth, preserving local history, restoring critical ecological systems, supporting arts and education, providing prime recreational opportunities for families and adding to our city’s overall quality of life. We’re excited for the future and grateful for the many partners that have contributed to this effort over the years.”

The Depot Park groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 201 SE Depot Avenue Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 8-10 a.m. A light breakfast provided by The Wooly, and Sweetwater Organic Coffee will be served. The event will feature a live performance from children’s band Bears and Lions, as well as exhibits from the Florida Community Design Center’s POP GNV program, Pure Energy Solar, Oelrich Construction, Bike Florida, the City of Gainesville Public Works Department, the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), Regional Transit System (RTS) and Visit Gainesville.

Extensive environmental restoration of the former brownfield site was conducted by the City of Gainesville’s Public Works Department and GRU in previous park development phases. The Gainesville CRA completed restoration of the historic Depot Building in 2012. The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention is on-track with its $9 million fundraising campaign to construct a world-class facility on the west side of Depot Park.

Depot Park is a collaborative project that has spanned nearly two decades of planning and investment by many partners. The groundbreaking ceremony will honor those who have helped bring Depot Park to fruition, and celebrate this next phase, which will activate the park for public use and set the tone for its future as Gainesville’s iconic central park.

For more information about Depot Park or to RSVP for the groundbreaking ceremony, please contact CRA Project Manager Nathalie McCrate at or 352-393-8213.

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