Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency and Florida State University President John Thrasher appeared to not be listening to the community and their plea to stop trying to rush the Airport Gateway project. It’s a project that the community has not agreed upon 100 percent.
Tons of issues such as safety, busy roads and gentrification have come forward but the biggest concern brought to light was how can Thrasher be committed to the neighbors of the community, but never been to a meeting to listen to the communities concerns and opinions.
Tuesday, Dec. 5 residents from the Tallahassee Providence and South Lake Bradford area appeared to voice their opinion and plea their view on the Blueprint Airport Gateway project, which could change their neighborhood character significantly.
“My friends told me not to come tonight, they said my voice has no power, money talks but I am happy I came because I see … I’m not alone,” said Linda Service a residence from the Tallahassee Providence area at the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency meeting.
The airport gateway project is a plan to build a road — or a gateway — that makes it easier for those who wish to travel to the airport better. Since FSU is bringing money to the table — $9 million to be exact — they also bring plans that show a road to help students from FSU’s southwest campus get to the main campus. According to the objective of the project, it also brings improvements along Lake Bradford Road and complement the nearby Gaines Street redevelopment and support further redevelopment by creating an aesthetically pleasing and safe pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular infrastructure within walking distance to FSU, FAMU, and Gaines Street.
The floor was open and one by one residents pleaded and voiced their opinions on why they are against the project. Out of all the projects and plans that have happened in the City of Tallahassee, residents feel that they are not included in the gateway project and this has never happened before.
City of Tallahassee Commissioner Curtis Richardson, Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor and City of Tallahassee Commissioner Gill Ziffer stood out most during the meeting. Richardson spoke up about the churches and businesses alongside Spring Lane Road. He voiced how none have been to any of the meetings to voice their opinions and will not agree toward the project until those individuals are involved. Ziffer seems to be happy about the project. He talks about how it can bring investments and jobs to the community. He is also happy that residents are engaging in this project, but is he forgetting that the residents that are voicing an opinion are not as happy as he is.
The man who stole the show was Proctor. Proctor called out President Thrasher saying he is not for the community.
“He hasn’t been to nothing personally. You’re not personally committed until you show up and listen to these people. I know these people. I’ve known these people all my life,” said Proctor.
Proctor showed The Famuan a letter written from Thrasher explaining how committed he is to working alongside the partners and neighbors to create a better community for all. He has also explained how the project must expand and extend out roads.
“As President of Florida State University, I am personally committed to working alongside our partners and neighbors to create a better community for all of us” said Thrasher in the letter.
Proctor also told commissioners that a vote should not be done until Thrasher comes to a meeting and listens to the community and their concerns. The meeting is tentatively scheduled by the end of January if schedules are able.
Leon County Commissioner Kristen Dozier feels the next three months should focus on this project. All commissioners voted to continue the public hearing until March 1, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.
“We want to protect our character of our community and our neighborhood, he is not in our community,” said Anita Franklin, a concerned Callen neighborhood resident, about Thrasher.