Major improvements planned for city’s south side

Abandoned house in Southside Tallahassee.
Photo Submitted by Kristian Thomas.

Tallahassee’s south side neighborhood will be continuing its facelift in the new year, specifically in the Bond community.

As of December, Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency has launched The Greater Bond Neighborhood First Program serving the south side and greater Bond area in particular.

Community members are excited about the program, and south side resident John Cozart already has a recommendation for where they can start.

“If they could cut the tree limbs back off of the streets, I mean as you can see it’s in kind of bad shape out here and that would keep the electricity running right in the neighborhood like it needs to,” said Cozart.

There are many areas that need attention.  Abandoned homes and uneven sidewalks are no strange sight in the greater Bond area. In some cases, there are not any sidewalks to walk on. Residents are hoping with this plan things will change.

In a plan that totals up to $6.4 million, neighborhoods and blighted areas that have been identified by the community’s residents will be cleaned up or restored; $500,000 has already been allotted with $5.9 million to be distributed over the next three years.

The program targets more than upkeep, as the plan does not only cover the beautification of the area but focuses on public safety, and the neighborhood’s economy.

Officials are on board and recently came out to address the community to share their vision and give updates.

“We’re going to see lots of improvements to the south side of Tallahassee in the near future and certainly in the long term,” City Commissioner Curtis Richardson and CRA chair said addressing community members.

Crime on the south side needs to be improved and in police chief Michael DeLeo’s  update he announced that there indeed has been improvement in recent years.

“My first couple of years, it felt like every time we talked about crime, crime was up. I am pleased to report that again, we’re just wrapping up all the statistics for 2018 that overall crime is going to be down about seven percent, over 2017 crime was down fourteen percent. So that means we had a twenty one percent decrease in crime city wide in the last two years.”

This program is driven by the community itself with its board headed by president Talethia Edwards —making it a “bottom up” plan.

The city partnering with the south side community may be overdue to some but over the next three years we are expected to see growth on all issued concerning the residents of the greater Bond area. This is intended to make the Tallahassee economy stronger and its citizens safer, with its landscape mirroring the strength of the community.