Pleasant Street residents provide feedback on proposed affordable housing


Aaron Green, a lifelong resident of Gainesville’s historic Pleasant Street neighborhood, sees affordable housing as the most pressing issue in his area. He was one of the neighborhood residents who attended a Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area event on Nov. 10 to provide feedback on a plan for affordable housing at 414 NW Fifth Ave.

“Everything in the area is going the route of student housing and big apartments, and everyone is going away from the affordable housing for the workforce,” Green said.

The lot in the historically Black neighborhood is owned by the city of Gainesville and currently sits empty. The historic Rose Theater was located on this land previously.

“People came to this event because they are being priced out of their rental homes in this area,” project manager Chelsea Bakaitis said, “and they are interested in finding an affordable place to live in this neighborhood.”

At the event, participants could put stickers next to what they think affordable monthly costs are. Most of the stickers were placed on $800 and $1,000 a month.

Monthly rent prices for some Pleasant Street homes are currently much higher: One woman Bakaitis previously talked to was forced to leave the area because she could not afford her place after rent increased According to, a website that gives information about rental properties, the median price for a two bedroom house in the Pleasant Street neighborhood is $1,300.

“We want to attract people who grew up here to move back,” Sarah Vidal, director of the GCRA, said. “Affordable housing is something we are trying to see if people would want here, because there is such a big need.”

The GCRA will use the feedback and information from the community workshops like the one held Thursday to help set rent prices.

“There are so many people that need housing,” she said. “It is so important.”

Green, who primarily participated in a roundtable style conversation was very engaged in how this development would benefit the community and specifically the growth of the Pleasant Street neighborhood.

“We need to make the neighborhood viable for people to move back,” said Green, who has lived in the neighborhood his whole life. “We’re close to the university, shopping, medical, financial and we have recreational components. We just need the housing.”

Wednesday’s event is part of the community collaboration phase of the project. Information about this development can be found on the GCRA website.

About Garrett Ballard

Garrett is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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