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Gainesville’s Extreme Makeover

New apartments and clothing stores in downtown Gainesville. Photo by Owen Langford

The city of Gainesville has only ever been known for being the poultry capital of the world, but Mayor Sam Couvillon has plans to change that. 

Gainesville has already undergone substantial changes. The Kroger off of Limestone Parkway and the new luxury apartments located behind them are two examples of new construction and growth in the city.

Gainesville’s population has risen steadily over the past couple of years and some of the glaring issues are the lack of housing and surrounding local outlets to accommodate the new residents. 

Renovations on the square in downtown Gainesville along with other new housing ventures are underway to try and solve this issue. “We have had over $250 million dollars of private investment in our downtown corridor,” said Couvillon.

Couvillon made it clear that the upgrades to the city are not only for the benefit of current residents but for potential ones as well. “We want people to come back to Gainesville,” said Couvillon. “We want people to bring businesses to Gainesville.”

Local business owners, Melanie and Carey Hollman have lived in Gainesville for the past twenty years and have watched the city flourish. “I think it is all really positive,” said Mr. Hollman. “Personally, I think it is great.”

Melanie Hollman and Eddie Sigmom working on their new store. Photo by Owen Langford

Mrs. Hollman feels that the stigma around Gainesville’s growth is changing. “We see so many people visiting now,” she said. “I just think the city is doing a great job to support and welcome, not only us as the locals but people from the other cities also.”

Couvillon has realized bringing people to the city means there’s a desperate need for amenities, such as; restaurants, entertainment, shops, etc. and has plans for a music hall to be built along with several new clothing stores and more.

Newly constructed parking deck Photo by Owen Langford.

New laws are also changing with the construction. The square now also allows open containers, which permits downtown patrons to carry alcoholic beverages around the premises. Gainesville has also brought back public transportation in the form of the Gainesville Trolley and the ride-share WeGo vans.

Matthew Carter, a major in computer science at the University of North Georgia, feels that the changes to the downtown area have made it more accommodating for college-age students. “Before there was not really anything that made me want to go to the square apart from Atlas,” Carter said. “But now I got pretty often with friends to grab a drink and just walk around and hang out.”

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Owen Langford, Editor in Chief
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Gainesville’s Extreme Makeover