Alachua opens downtown parking to draw activity

Ribbon cutting
From left to right, Vice Mayor Jennifer Blalock, Mayor Gib Coerper, Commissioner Danya Miller and City Manager Mike DaRoza celebrate the opening of the city's downtown parking lot.
Photo by Seth Johnson

City of Alachua leaders hope to increase access to its historic downtown through a new parking lot behind Conestogas Restaurant.

City officials cut the ribbon on the parking lot on Thursday morning, opening up the parking spots for use. 

The $980,500 project has been ongoing for 10 years as city officials gathered approval from the landowners who held sections of the lot. The United States Department of Agriculture also supported the construction with a $160,000 grant.  

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Mayor Gib Coerper said the new lot will help owners park closer to businesses and thanked all who played a part. 

“Sometimes, it’s hard for people to see a finished product,” Coerper said. “Now, you’re seeing that finished product, and I know you’re really going to be proud about this.”  

Adam Hall, principal planner for Alachua, said the new pavement represents the city’s passion to improve the downtown area. He said a marketing campaign would likely follow as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) considers what new capital projects would assist the area.  

“I know a parking lot may seem like one of the more prosaic public works projects,” Hall said at the ribbon cutting. “But, I think it’s more than just a parking lot. It’s a symbol of the CRA and the city’s investment in the Main Street and the downtown area.” 

Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper speaks at Thursday’s ribbon cutting.

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Donald Shoup

Nothing drives activity to a place like a beautiful parking lot. One million dollars wasted.