TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — City leaders say growing Tallahassee's southside is a priority. City commissioner Dianne Williams- Cox says the Southside Action Plan now is how they'll fast-track that growth.
"The Southside Action Plan is set out to put into action plans that were put into place many years ago. We're now breathing energy into it," she said.
Commissioners approved the plan on March 24, adding it to the decades-old Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan. The first phase of the project is focused on public input. Commissioners plan to gather that public input until this fall.
Anyone looking to add their thoughts can come to Frank R. Nims Middle School Saturday, May 1st for "Show Your Southside Pride". The drive-thru gathering will give people information on the plan as well as allow them to add their input on the plan.
"We want to show that this is more than words this time. This is actual work," said Commissioner Williams- Cox.
Many community members like Rahni Wright say they're ready to see action after years of talking about changes.
"A lot of the things that people want have been expressed many many times. What needs to happen is looking at the plans that exist," said Wright.
Wright previously served as the Chair for the Frenchtown/ Southside CRA Advisory Committee. She's also the former president of the Providence Neighborhood Association. She says she has put together countless plans that would better the community, now she's ready to see them in action.
"There are some basic necessities that haven't been met," said Wright.
Wright describes those needs as improvements to the roads and sidewalks, more businesses, jobs, and addressing the housing concerns.
"The housing needs are very important. There are working people who can't have the housing they need," said Wright. "I think people just want to enjoy their lives. Work really hard and relax when they're not working."
The Southside Action Plan would cover the airport, portions of Jackson Bluff, South Monroe Street, and Woodville, enough to cover 44 neighborhoods. The city says there are 36,667 people within that area. 25 percent fall below the poverty line.
"I think we focus a lot on the youth and that's really important to continue to support that but i think there are a lot of adult things that continue to happen that need a lot more support," said Wright.
"We want what every other neighborhood and every other part of town wants. To have opportunities to have smart development, smart economic development, improved streets, lights, sidewalks. All of those kinds of things," said Commissioner Williams-Cox, a Southside resident herself.
The Southside Action Plan will start off with smaller projects, such as beautification and clean-up, before launching into bigger projects. Wright says despite stalled plans in the past, she's hopeful about what this one will bring to her neck of the woods.
"I think it's a good opportunity to get everything on the same page. I think a lot of people have been doing a lot of good work in segmented ways. When you have a larger plan, you have a way to execute everything piece by piece and get everything completed," she said.
The city is hosting a drive-thru informational session at Nims Middle School May 1 from 10 a.m. until noon.