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City meets with south side residents

By Bleu Bell | Staff Reporter
On January 11, 2019

South side residents gather at Walker-Ford Community Center with the city of Tallahassee. 
Photo Submitted by Bleu Bell.

The ongoing informational series “Tallahassee In Progress” continued Thursday night, as south side residents met with the city of Tallahassee to discuss public safety, new infrastructure and other quality of life enhancements.

City commissioners, City Manager Reese Goad, Assistant City Manager Cynthia Barber, Police Chief Michael DeLeo and Mayor John Dailey attended the meeting at the Walker-Ford Community Center. Residents from the Jake Gaither community, South City, and the Greater Bond Neighborhood were also in attendance.

“We can’t do it alone. We are all in this together and we’re going to bring out amazing positive change, working hard to bring us to our goals,” Mayor Dailey said. “We are dedicated to providing world-class services for each and every one of you.”

Chief DeLeo’s public safety update drew applause after he announced crime rates were down for the second year in a row. Crime was down 7 percent in 2018 and down 14 percent in 2017, he reported.

“That means you have a 21 percent decrease in crime citywide in the last two years,” said DeLeo. “That’s an improvement of the quality of life for everybody in our city.”

With car break-ins the No. 1 crime, the Tallahassee Police Department has begun targeting “hot spot” areas for this and similar offenses.

Speed’s Grocery on Floral Street was one of these areas until TPD placed cameras and implemented other safety precautions. As a result, the area is now virtually crime free.

DeLeo also shared details about a new public safety campus that will include community/recreational space and safety educational services. The South Monroe Street campus will house 410 officers and staff and function as the TPD headquarters, allowing them to have a more engaging relationship with the community and its youth.

A major update was the implementation of the Neighborhood Public Safety Initiative in the Bond community. The initiative proved successful in Griffin Heights and greater Frenchtown in 2017 where residents could join a Community Action Team. For one of the first efforts, 70 to 100 volunteers in each neighborhood walked the streets block by block to assess the houses, public infrastructure, identifying potholes and more.

Leann Watts-Williams, Southside Neighborhood Services Coordinator, announced that on Dec. 13, the Greater Bond Neighborhood First Plan was adopted and approved by the community redevelopment agency for an initial funding of $500,000, with a commitment of an additional $5.9 million over the next three years.

“Once NPSI was launched, we did realized that Greater Bond, a once flourishing, and economically vibrant neighborhood, needed additional assistance beyond NPSI, as it had now become a neighborhood riddled with crime, litter, illegal dumping, dilapidated homes, and many other issues that lead to blight,” said Watts-Williams. “From that realization, the Neighborhood First process was birthed in the Greater Bond neighborhood.”

Other improvements, both implemented and on the way, include a gateway project for Spring Hill Road, connecting FAMU Way to Providence and Lake Bradford Road, a Star Metro super stop at Orange Avenue and Meridian Street, and a $10 million Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency budget to improve the Fairgrounds.

For more information about public safety and infrastructure updates, visit

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