News

Improving the Visitor Experience at Depot Park

Improving the Visitor Experience at Depot Park

As Depot Park approaches its one year anniversary, additions that will improve the visitor experience are underway. Over the past year, the City of Gainesville’s Community Redevelopment Agency (GCRA) and the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) have been collecting feedback from park visitors in an effort to make the park even more successful, enjoyable, and safe. Here are some changes you can expect to see in the upcoming months.

This summer, several sunscreen dispensers will be installed in Depot Park as part of the city-wide sun protection campaign. As one of the first projects funded through Wild Spaces Public Places, the CRA has been working with the playground design team on the addition of a series of permanent shade sail structures in the children’s play area. These shade sails will provide relief from the summer sun where it is needed most. Additional relief from the summer heat can be sought at the chilled water bottle filler and fountain that will be installed adjacent to the public restrooms in July.

With events and activities now in full swing throughout the park, the importance of providing additional access options to the Depot Building from the plaza area has been recognized. A new ADA compliant ramp will be added to the southern side of the building. Installation is anticipated to start in July.

If you have been to the park recently, you may have noticed a change in the stormwater pond. The Department of Public Works (DPW) recently replaced the fountain. The new addition propels water more than twice as high!

The GCRA,PRCA, and DPW look forward to celebrating the one year anniversary of Depot Park with you in August!

Museum Coordinator Chosen for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center

Museum Coordinator Chosen for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center

Desmon Duncan-Walker is the new Museum Coordinator for the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center. She is the daughter of Iris Duncan and George Walker, Jr. and the granddaughter of Collins and the late Gloria Chestnut Duncan and the late George, Sr. and Alma McDonald Walker. With a local family history that points back to pioneer citizens of Gainesville, her roots in Alachua County run deep.

City Manager Announces Selection of CRA Director

City Manager Announces Selection of CRA Director

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Gainesville City Manager Anthony Lyons is pleased to announce the selection of Sarah Vidal-Finn to lead the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). As director, Vidal-Finn will lead redevelopment efforts in the city’s urban core.

Vidal-Finn most recently served in an interim director capacity for the CRA. She played a pivotal role in the development and execution of Depot Park and the Bo Diddley Plaza and initiatives that will unfold in 2017, such as Northwest First Avenue streetscape, Power District redevelopment, the Heartwood neighborhood development (former Kennedy Homes site) and the Cornerstone (GTEC area) expansion.


City Manager Anthony Lyons also serves as the executive director of the Gainesville CRA. He hired Vidal-Finn to join the CRA team in 2009. “Sarah’s experiences at the CRA have shaped her intuitive grasp of innovative concepts that drive redevelopment of our urban areas. I expect that she will continue to enjoy great success as CRA director,” stated City Manager Lyons.


Before her appointment as interim director, Vidal-Finn was the CRA manager with oversite of budgeting and procurement and improvement of operational processes within the CRA. She also managed redevelopment projects, and has successfully completed multiple capital projects during her tenure. Prior to joining the Gainesville CRA, Vidal-Finn was the construction coordinator for the University of Florida Purchasing Services Department, where she supported the university’s procurement and contract management for construction-related services for Facilities Planning & Construction, Physical Plant Department, Housing and the Institute of Food & Agricultural Service.

“It’s a true privilege when your profession aligns with your passion,” noted Vidal-Finn. “The CRA plays a big role in ‘what’s next’ for Gainesville and I look forward to continued partnership with the communities we serve to deliver projects that result in real economic impacts for our city.”


Vidal-Finn is a licensed Florida real estate sales associate, with a background in commercial real estate and development and a certified housing development finance professional by the National Development Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Florida and is a fourth generation Gator with significant family history in the Gainesville community.

Depot Park earns $60,000 Capital City Bank grant for Adventure Play Area

Depot Park visitors will now have some much needed protection from the Florida heat!

Depot Park earns $60,000 Capital City Bank grant for Adventure Play Area

Depot Park visitors will now have some much needed protection from the Florida heat! We're thrilled to announce that Capital City Bank's non-profit foundation has graciously contributed $60,000 towards constructing a much-needed shade structure next to the Depot Park custom splash pad and adventure play area! (pictured from left to right: City Manager Anthony Lyons; CRA Project Manager Nathalie McCrate; CRA Project Manager Cindi Harvey; Capital City Bank Chairman, President, & CEO William G. Smith, Jr.; Interim CRA Director Sarah Vidal-Finn; CRA Board Chair & Commissioner Craig Carter)

Power District RFQ!

After years of community engagement and advanced technical studies, the City of Gainesville is seeking partners to redevelop 17-acres of vacant, former industrial land in Southeast Gainesville!

Power District RFQ!

After years of community engagement and advanced technical studies, the City of Gainesville is seeking partners to redevelop 17-acres of vacant, former industrial land in Southeast Gainesville! 

Rejuvenated Bo Diddley Plaza will officially re-open on March 1, 2016

The CRA will be hosting a ribbon-cutting for the renovated Bo Diddley Plaza on Thursday March 10th! Come share the moment, grab some coffee and we’ll meet you in front of the water wall!

Rejuvenated Bo Diddley Plaza will officially re-open on March 1, 2016

The CRA will be hosting a ribbon-cutting for the renovated Bo Diddley Plaza on Thursday March 10th! Come share the moment, grab some coffee and we’ll meet you in front of the water wall! Learn more about the renovations here. ‪#‎heartGNV‬

CRA recognized for Southern Charm Kitchen partnership & Porters Community Improvements

Project honored with a state “Out-of-the-Box” award from the Florida Redevelopment Association, a statewide community revitalization nonprofit organization.

CRA recognized for Southern Charm Kitchen partnership & Porters Community Improvements

GAINESVILLE, Fla.– What do a contemporary Southern cuisine restaurant and a sidewalk project have in common? Both are local urban revitalization efforts that were recognized at the state and regional level this fall.

Painting Party

Painting Party will brighten up the Duval Neighborhood on October 16 & 17

Painting Party

GAINESVILLE, Fla.– A quiet, tree-canopied street in the Duval Community will come to life next weekend when the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), residents and two nonprofits join forces to paint six neighboring houses on NE 11th Place.

CRA expands program to improve houses Downtown

The first recipient of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)’s Downtown residential paint program.

CRA expands program to improve houses Downtown

GAINESVILLE, Fla.–A house in the Porters Community will receive a makeover this weekend, as the first recipient of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)’s Downtown residential paint program.