Leon County representatives met Tuesday at the North Florida Fair Grounds to address important issues concerning the Southern Strategy Area on Tallahassee’s south side.
The Southern Strategy Area covers about 17 square miles, roughly from Cascade Park to Capital Circle, and from Pensacola Street to north of Lake Munson.
The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department presented plans for schools, neighborhoods, housing, infrastructure and transportation.
According to Leon County Administrator Parwez Alam, the recession, combined with property tax reductions, have placed the county in a tenuous position for future years.
Decline in property values totaled at $227 million on top of last years $1 billion decline.
The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department presentation was followed by an open discussion headed by eight panelists.
Community members and business owners were able to voice their concerns with the condition and perception of Southside during the panel discussion.
“A way to enhance the industries around Southside is by prying business activity,” said Terrence Hinson, a member of the Capital City Chamber of Commerce.
Most of the panelists live on Southside or are from the area. The panelists shared insight into stimulating economic growth and activity on Southside.
“I think it’s a lost opportunity, especially the area around Adams Street, Monroe Street, and all the way down to Orange Ave,” said Samuel Houston of Florida A&M’ s Facilities Planning and Construction.
“The University is also a business. FAMU has spent over $450 million in development over the past ten years,” Houston said. FAMU could expand to 30,000 students over the next 10 to 15 years.
Bill Proctor the Leon County Commissioner of District 1 proposed turning R. Frank Nims Middle School into girl’s only school and Fairview middle school into and boy’s only school.
“We must slide away from the perception that our schools are not up to par,” Proctor said.
The panel did not make an official decision on the proposition and will discuss the prospect of all-boy school or all-girl school.
“Negative role models influence our African American boys on Southside, building an all-boy school will help cradle them from negative influences,” said Shari Morris, a six-year resident.
“Parents need to show more love and more interest in their children and then there is a drug issue in the area.”
A full report entailing everything covered during the presentation is available at www.talgov.com under the planning department tab.