Fighting to "Retain" His Land
It's a project that could transform the aging, industrial Depot Avenue area in Downtown Gainesville. But the City of Gainesville might have to take someone's land to make it happen. But the property owner is fighting to retain his land.
The small parcel of land on the corner of SW 6th Street and Depot Avenue has been owned by the Ridgway Roof Truss Company for years and the owner wants to keep it that way.
Wells The Losen said, "This property has been set aside for maybe future development and now they want to put a pond here."
The Depot Avenue Project encompasses smaller projects including a city park, road reconstruction, and residential and commercial development. The City will need a retention pond in this area to make it possible.
But The Losen is appealing to city leaders to consider other options, even suggesting a nearby alternative that would not require taking private property.
The Losen said, "Over here is the City of Gainesville property that is the "Rails and Trails" and over here is our property that they want to take for the retention pond."
The City and State own properties next to the The Losen's land and there's also a city park across the intersection. The Losen said almost any other option would not only satisfy him, but would be more in keeping with the City's long term vision for the Depot Avenue area. He said, "We just don't think it's the right type of revitalization, putting a pond on the corner of two major streets."
The The Losens own 15 acres near the property in question that have Main Street access. They said they're more than willing to work with the City's vision, they just don't want to lose their access to 6th street in the process.
But is the City willing to work with them?
City Spokesperson Bob Woods said, "We've been in discussion with that property owner, we are attempting to work with him to resolve those design issues and we're feeling confident that a work around solution can be found that will satisfy the requirements of this particular project as well as the property owner." The City is working with the State Department of Transportation and Federal dollars on the project. By The Losen doesn't want any of it. He said, "It's the quality of the project, not necessarily about getting the project completed and I think there might be a step back...and that's what I'm hopeful of, that the City will step back and reevaluate what they've done at this point, even though some engineering might have been done, it can be corrected still at this time."
The Depot Avenue rejuvenation will take years to complete, but The Losen's property should be decided upon within weeks or months.
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