Storefront Series 3: Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Florida

On top of the exciting street improvements to NW 1st Avenue itself, the Gainesville CRA partnered with area businesses to encourage and support façade improvements to properties within the Midtown area.

While construction on the corridor nears to a close, we are excited to share that eight business along the NW 1st Avenue corridor participated in Gainesville CRA’s façade grant program. For the third installment of our Storefront Series, we present a finished improvement for the University of Florida Baptist Collegiate Ministries on the 1600 block of NW 1st Avenue and University Avenue.

Read on for before and after photos.

The UF BCM connects students and local churches. They provide opportunities and programs to help college students become more spiritually connected and involved in our local community.

UF BCM needed a refreshed exterior with an outdoor space to enjoy. Having a more defined boundary was a plus, since some pedestrians use this space as a shortcut to and from University Avenue. The constant foot traffic meant grass simply did not grow along patches of 16th Street.

The CRA facade grant covered power washing and painting the building, installing a durable, new picket fence and a new sign, adding permanent grass and new picnic tables, and painting a colorful, uplifting mural. The result: A more appealing space for UF BCM members and passersby alike.

These additions outside created an external space that UF BCM students use to eat together, study together and pray together. The artificial grass is durable and evergreen. On game days it provides a place for alumni to gather, children to play on, and vendors have a better base to set up upon.

UF BCM Director, Eddie Gilley, says, “Overall we just think the look is cleaner and provides a great first impression for our center.”

A mural was adding to the back of the building near the parking lot. UF BCM used the mural to share the interconnected story of the organization, which dates back to 1907, with the University and the community.

“That’s why we incorporated a map of UF from the early 1900s along with our building,” said Gilley. “The cross really represents what we hope to be for our student community. A community of faithful students who proclaim the gospel to our peers and the UF community at large.”

Before & After the Transformation

Before – A blank space of wall in the parking lot before adding the mural.

After – A new mural for the parking lot. The muralist is a member of the UF BCM community.

Before – the main walkup on University Avenue.

After – a newly-installed fence and permanent grass.

Before – patches of lawn worn away on NW 16th Street.

After – permanent grass and an outdoor space to enjoy.

Before – before power washing the lanai out front.

After – building was power-washed and columns painted.

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