Gainesville, Hall County, GA

Green Space Initiative

Leadership: Judge John Girardeau, Community Volunteer

Our Vision: Gainesville-Hall County has the greatest amount of protected green space (parks, recreation areas and privately owned open land) of any urban county in Georgia. Elachee Nature Science Center in Chicopee Woods, Smithgall Woodland Garden and Don Carter State Park are key anchors of the green space effort. A highlight of the green space initiative is a network of pathways connecting North Hall, Gainesville & South Hall.

The group is committed to a process of identifying land for permanent protection based upon its recreational, ecological, environmental, aesthetic, cultural, historic, or agricultural value.
This committee is divided into three sections or focus areas: 
• Working on the 2017 Unincorporated Hall County Comprehensive Plan
Highlands to Islands Trail
• Community and Political Support

They have mapped existing Green Space in Gainesville-Hall County and is coordinating efforts between the City of Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Oakwood and all of Hall County on specific pedestrian trails, specifically the Highlands to Islands Trail.

Midtown Greenway
The City of Gainesville has been working since 2000 to redevelop a unique section of the city, known as Midtown. Development concepts include renovating the historic railroad depot, establishing an entertainment district, converting the CSX rail line into a greenway, installing streetscape along key streets, providing mixed-income housing, and protecting some of the area's valuable historic resources.

A public investment the City is implementing for the Midtown area is the conversion of the CSX rail line into a greenway and the building of a park.  This greenway in Midtown will improve the aesthetics of the area and will provide an alternative mode of walk ability, recreational opportunities, and pedestrian connections to the downtown square, the Elachee Nature Science Center trail system, and the Rock Creek Greenway.

Visit the City of Gainesville website for more information

Highlands to Islands Trail


Constructionl. Work is ongoing on a section approximately 2.5 miles long from Palmour Drive to Balus Creek in the area of Lanier Technical College and University of North Georgia's Gainesville Campus.  This section also includes a tunnel underneath Atlanta Highway near the Georgia Department of Labor.  The current section is part of an overall master-planned system that connects with Gainesville's Midtown Greenway and Rock Creek Greenway.  The cities of Oakwood and Flowery Branch would like to see the trail extended south through their cities and connect with current road widening projects along State Route 347 and the proposed road widening project along Spout Springs Road.

  • The current phase of the Highlands to Islands Trail has approximately $2.5 million in Federal funds allocated to this project

  • The bids have been received for constructing the current section and are anticipated to be presented to the Hall County Board of Commissioners at the Nov. 13, 2014 Commission meeting for award.

  • Construction could begin early 2015.  Construction duration is estimated to last six months.  This section of the trail would probably open in the summer of 2015.

  • The Gainesville-Hall Metro Planning Organization is working to build partnerships with interested parties, including local bike shops, bicycle clubs, citizens, businesses, etc. to create awareness and advocacy for multi-modal facilities around Hall County.

·        The trail will be a 10-foot-wide multi-use paved path open to non-motorized uses.