September 14, 2020
The city of Gainesville has been eyeing a project to build University of Florida student housing on the east side of town, but they may be eyeing it a little longer than initially thought.
Two weeks ago, the Gainesville City Commission voted to instruct Gainesville officials to draw up a moratorium to push back development of major residential and commercial buildings. The moratorium would affect several different neighborhoods, including Pleasant Street, Porters and Duval. The specific length of the moratorium was not finalized in the vote.
If the moratorium is given the green light, development of affordable housing, small retail stores and buildings that serve basic needs would be allowed to proceed as scheduled. Among the basic needs are buildings that serve to provide food, healthcare and nutrition.
The reason the moratorium had so much support was due to concerns from Gainesville residents about the area's gentrification. City Commissioner Gail Johnson, who wrote up the resolution, declared that “What we are really good at right now is erasing neighborhoods, cultures, stories. That's what we are really good at in the United States.”
Johnson also pointed out that gentrification has already taken place in some parts of Gainesville, and that the moratorium is calculated to stop it from continuing. When speaking to the Independent Florida Alligator about the subject, she did not mince words about situations where affluent white citizens pushed out the current residents- some of whom were displaced after living there for generations. “It happened, so in these neighborhoods, the Black and the brown people, they are gone,” she said. “They took them piece by piece, it felt like family by family.”