TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Construction is coming along on the city’s southside on the Golden Aster Trail. The work is happening between Capital Circle Southwest and Long Leaf Road. It’s a small part of a bigger effort to improve the Southside of the Capital City.
We met Darin Watson on the Southside. He runs a car washing business along Lake Bradford Road. “I grew up over here. I was born here,” Watson said. He lives and works in an area where people will tell you there’s a need for economic development. “I’ve been here all my life. It’s kind of developing a little bit.”
The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency is working to connect this part of town with new opportunities.
“The Golden Aster Trailis part of the Capital Circle Southwest Greenways,” explained Shannon Berigan, Blueprint Communications Manager. “We’re building a natural trail that will connect the neighborhoods in the south and southwest communities.”
This trail is near a bigger effort to develop the corridor between Tallahassee International Airport and the area near Watson’s neighborhood. The larger Airport Gateway projected was predicted to cost over $60 million. Berigan said the Aster Trail, on the other hand, is costing around $160,000.
The trail is named for the endangered flower that’s expected to thrive once construction wraps and the weather warms up here. Florida State Parks said it’s recognized as a threatened plant in the state and on the federal level.
What led to the plant being endangered is that much of its natural habitat was transformed into land for agricultural use in the 1970s. Population studies are done every three years to monitor the growth of the flower in the state.
When finished in June of 2023, the clearing will be a multi-use trail, and it will be ADA accessible. It’ll also make use of what’s left of the recently demolished Gamble Street bridge. Once they bust up the bridge, it’s going be recycled and go onto the muddy path to make a good base for the trail.
“Recycling a lot of the gravel is saving a lot of money,” Berigan said.
That money is meant to connect more people to a better quality of life and drive business toward the Southside. The idea gives people like Watson hope for the future.