The City of Tallahassee is currently looking to designate commercial properties on South Monroe Street between FAMU Way and Orange Avenue as a brownfield. The meeting was held Tuesday evening in the Career Source on South Monroe Street.
According to Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a brownfield is “any real property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by actual or perceived contamination.”
One of the most well-known brownfields is the Gaines Street Corridor. The area was designated a brownfield in 2000.
“We have one of the most successful brownfields in the state of Florida, and really in the southeastern United States,” Environmental Regulatory Compliance manager John Powell said.
The city plans to use the Gaines Street corridor as the blueprint for South Monroe, in hopes that the redevelopment will bring the same success to South City.
“You can see how much the Gaines Street corridor has developed over the past 15 years, so we want to build on that success and we want to do the same thing here on south Monroe,” Powell said.
Tim Lewis, Tallahassee Office branch manager for Carndo, shared his thoughts on what the designation could mean for the South City community.
“One thing I kinda visualize this as is the very first key steps to hopefully what will be a 10-year revitalization similar to what we saw in Gaines Street for the South Monroe and South Adams corridor,” Lewis said. “(It’s) not all the time in our careers we get to work on a project that has the potential to be so beneficial to the community that you're living in and working in.”
If assigned a brownfield, property owners who decide to participate will be rewarded with tax cuts and credits, and if their land is contaminated assistants will be provided for clean up.
Lewis said the brownfield designation would help South City by providing jobs and beautification to the area among other benefits.
“I would say there is two goals. There’s the revitalization of the commercial district on Adams and Monroe frontedge primarily, trying to increase the value of those properties (and) trying to beautify some of the old properties. What often goes hand and hand with that is job creation, and that's trying to connect with South City,” Lewis said.
There’s are also incentives for providing healthcare or housing on a brownfield designated area.
The city has already submitted it application to designated the South Monroe corridor as a brownfield. The application decision should be announced in April.