GAINESVILLE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Days could be numbered for a landmark property in the center of Midtown Gainesville.
Ryan Orodesky manages The Swamp Restaurant, located the corner of NW 17th Street and W. University Avenue, directly across from the University of Florida campus. He says there are plans in place to build student housing at the location.
"It means The Swamp is going to be torn down," he said. "It's a sad day if it does happen. We've been here for 25 years. It's an icon!"
The thought of that is breaking hearts of students and alumni. The two-story eatery is surrounded by a white picket fence and has a shaded patio, covered with the trees. It's a nice place to hang out during the week, students say, and just two blocks down from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, it's "the place to be" on game day.
"From presidents to athletes to journalists, all walks of life people come in," Orodesky added. "People have had their first date here, first kiss…met their husband. Met their wives here."
The possible closing of The Swamp is getting all kinds of attention online. A #SaveTheSwamp petition on Change.org has received more than 20,000 signatures and counting.
State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Eustis, is even taking to Twitter, proposing legislation to save The Swamp. For now, the future of The Swamp lies in the hands of the future developer and Gainesville city leaders.