Frenchtown future growth debated at forum

The growth and development of Tallahassee’s Frenchtown community were strong areas of focus at a recent dialogue held at the Leroy Collins Library.

The forum consisted of Frenchtown residents and business owners. They discussed topics like the image the Tallahassee-Leon Shelter projects to potential developers and residents.

Several members of the shelter’s board were present and expressed a desire for the shelter, which serves the homeless community of Tallahassee, to been seen as a good neighbor to the community.

Some home and business owners in the Frenchtown community have articulated their hope that the shelter will move from its current location on West Tennessee Street.

“The issues of the homeless affect anyone with a stake in the Frenchtown community,” said Edith Sheeks, representing the board of the shelter. She said the shelter has made significant strides in becoming a better “neighbor to the community” with the fencing and lighting improvements that have been made to the shelter.

The executive director of the Frenchtown Community Development Center, Regina Davis, had a much different take on the shelter’s impact on the surrounding area.

“I believe property values have gone down. If you speak with any real estate agent or developer, the first question they ask is about the homeless shelter,” Davis said. “There has to be a reason why these questions keep coming up.”

Davis went on to say that revitalization of the Frenchtown area will mean attracting more home owners and businesses to the area. The goal will not be to address the community’s homeless population.

“Homelessness is a city-wide