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Monday, September 26, 2022

Gainesville's Bo Diddley Community Plaza could get $1.4 million makeover

Bo Diddley Community Plaza could receive a makeover as soon as this fall, and renovations to the East University Avenue side of the plaza could bring more performers and programs.

The estimated $1.4 million project would include storage rooms, restrooms and dressing rooms for performers.

In the past, performers had access to only an 8-by-8 foot storage room and a public restroom facility before going on stage.

The renovations would also feature a restaurant similar to the Lunchbox Café.

Sarah Vidal-Finn, manager of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency, said the plaza isn’t used much during the day.

“The biggest hope for the project is to really increase better utilization of the plaza during all times of the day,” she said.

With construction potentially beginning in late fall, Vidal-Finn said the renovations will cause as little disruption as possible, especially for the plaza’s homeless population. A homeless resource center set to open May 1 could alleviate some construction concerns.

Russell Etling, interim manager of cultural affairs for the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department, said the improvements will bring more visitors to the plaza.

“We are thrilled that it will get a face-lift and hopefully become even more popular,” he said.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 4/10/2014 under the headline "Bo Diddley Plaza could get $1.4 million makeover"]

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