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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Efforts to complete the Fifth Avenue/Pleasant Street Heritage Trail are underway

After years of no progress, leaders ask for community insight

A community meeting was held Wednesday night to discuss the future of the Fifth Avenue/Pleasant Street Heritage Trail. 

The project dates back to the late 20th century, when community support first began to memorialize Fifth Avenue and Pleasant Street, one of Gainesville’s first historically Black neighborhoods.

However, after multiple different contractors and failed plans, the heritage trail has yet to come to fruition. 

In the hands of the Community Planning Collaborative, project leaders Ennis Davis and Adrienne Burke said they hope to engage the community in the project. 

The heritage trail will comprise a collection of historically significant markers between Fifth Avenue and Pleasant Street to remember the stories of the people who used to live there despite gentrification. 

While the project is still in an early phase, he said organizers have put in blood, sweat and tears to ensure they answer the community’s most pressing question: “are you really going to do it this time?” 

The intersection of Fifth Avenue and Pleasant Street is one of the oldest Black neighborhoods in Gainesville, and the trail will ensure its extensive history won’t be forgotten, Burke said. 

“Black history is woefully undertold in most of our communities, and so it's extremely important to honor and recognize that,” she said. “Recognize it’s a living history.” 

Davis and Burke sought local input and involvement to ensure the trail is most representative of Gainesville’s cultural past. 

The team is working in collaboration with six Fifth Avenue/Pleasant Street historical descendants. 

The next community meeting is slated to take place in October 2024. 

Contact Morgan Vanderlaan at mvanderlaan@alligator.org. Follow her on X @morgvande.

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Morgan Vanderlaan

Morgan Vanderlaan is a first-year Political Science and English major and the City and County Commission Reporter for The Alligator. When she’s not on the clock, she can be found watching, writing and reciting theatre!


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