Center works toward revamping Frenchtown

This spring the Frenchtown Community Development Center will bring a series of educational and family-oriented events to the community in hopes of promoting Frenchtown as a walk, play and work community.

The Frenchtown Community Development Center plays a part in the rehabilitation of many historic businesses and residential properties in Frenchtown.

Regina Davis, executive director of the FCDC and Frenchtown resident, formed the organization in November 2001. She has several missions when it comes to the community she calls home.

“Our mission is to provide affordable housing, economic development opportunities and social services through public and private partnerships,” Davis said.

The first event will be held April 19 at Lee Park on Fourth Ave and is called “Arts & Sciences in the Park” for children ages 6-12.

There will be live book readings, arts and science stations, kite flying, tee ball and free food. This event is free to the public. Representatives from the Office of Minority Health will also be there to distribute information about eating healthy and the importance of exercise.

Ameer Hart, assistant supervisor for Jack McLean Community Center, expressed his feelings about the event.

“It’s good to see community representatives taking the time to give back to their neighbors,” Hart said. “You don’t see that very often, and as a father, I can appreciate their efforts.”

FCDC will also host a series of “Movies in the Park,” also expected to take place this spring. Selected movies will be shown and professionals will speak about issues concerning abuse, relationships and family issues as it pertains to the films.

“We want our neighbors to enjoy activities outside of their homes,” Davis said. “We believe if we have consistent reoccurring activities, families and business owners will be encouraged to enjoy all that Frenchtown has to offer.”

In addition to these events FCDC has another project slated to break ground in two weeks, the Tish Byrd Community Garden. This venue is being created as a place for regularly scheduled music events, plays, poetry readings, the arts, weddings, special events and other community gatherings.

Darryl Scott, also a Frenchtown resident and chair of the Front Porch Council, attested to Byrd’s commitment to the area.

“Tish Byrd was a resident on Georgia Street and an active member of the community,” Scott said. “She taught at both Lincoln High and Riley Middle schools and was a member of Bethel Baptist Church.”

The City of Tallahassee, Dixie Paving, Housing Tallahassee LLC and the Associations of Minority Contractors have donated more than $175,000 in goods and services for the construction of the garden. Esposito’s Nursery has also agreed to donate $237,000 in materials and services for the project.

“The creation of this garden is more than a community beautification project,” Scott said. “It is a place to celebrate the reconnection of the cycle of life.”