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City commissioners pledge to bring development to Tallahassee's southside

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 18:17:28-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee city officials spent the majority of Wednesday reviewing last year and looking ahead to plans for this year.

The annual City of Tallahassee Retreat focused on many different hot topics and one of the key focuses was development.

The commissioners all agreed that there needs to be more development on Tallahassee's southside. There are thousands of acres of land in development but most of them aren't on the southside.

Commissioners were shocked to hear why.

As Tallahassee grows in populations, developers work to keep the city up to speed.

But for many developers, the southside isn't an ideal spot because they feel the quality of education isn't good enough to support businesses. It's a revelation that shocked commissioners.

"I'm a product of Oak Ridge. Some of the best teachers that still have an impact on me. Went to Fairview Middle School," said Commissioner Jeremy Matlow. "If you can become a city commissioner, you can become anything."

Commissioner Matlow says that by bringing in more things like restaurants and stores, it would help turn around that part of town. But there's also room for the city to invest in that part of town.

"We talked today about the need for a TEMPO center for our youth," said Matlow. "Our at risk youth. We need to make an investment for a place to go for them."

One of the biggest development projects for city leaders is the new Tallahassee Police headquarters.

"I have made it very public, my interest in Northwood Center for a police headquarters," said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey. "But I've also made it clear that I don't want the community to get into a this or that debate. I'm also very much in favor of building a 21st century facility as well on the Lake Bradford property."

City leaders ended the conversation vowing to bring more development of all sorts to Tallahassee's southside.

The headquarters site selection decision will likely be made at the Jan. 29 commission meeting.