After about $2 million and a year of renovations, Bo Diddley Community Plaza will reopen Thursday.
The Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency renovated the plaza’s north side, said program manager Nathalie McCrate.
She said workers lowered the height of planters, trimmed overgrown trees and moved a bus stop — all to improve the view from University Avenue.
“It feels more spacious than before,” McCrate said.
Away from the community’s sight, entertainers gained space with the addition of a green room.
The performers will also have a kiosk to use for merchandise sales. On both sides of the kiosk, two marquees will advertise events.
McCrate said a map of downtown Gainesville will accompany the advertisements.
“People that are new to Gainesville can find the best places to go,” she said.
Behind the stage, four individual walls of streaming water face University Avenue. McCrate said the walls can be changed to 250 color combinations.
“We could do orange and blue for football days or green for St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
An empty cafe space, built in the same brick style as the kiosk and stage, was also added on the plaza’s north side.
Patticakes, a cafe that sells coffee and baked goods, might move into the new building by summer, McCrate said.
She said the CRA spent about $1.8 million on the project.
“The work that CRA did was phenomenal,” Steve Phillips, the director of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, said. “We did our part to retouch other parts of the park.”
Phillips said PRCA additionally spent about $155,000 on other renovations, such as stage lighting and acoustics.
“(The plaza) is such a nice place in the middle of town where people can go to enjoy themselves,” he said.
The plaza will open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a concert by soul musician and Gainesville native Charles Bradley. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held March 10.
Pictured is the renovated Bo Diddley Plaza, featuring a new cafe, new stage lighting and artificial turf. On February 25th, soul singer Charles Bradley will take to the stage to perform.