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Tallahassee's art district expands, co-owner holding community conversations

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Posted at 12:40 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 23:40:37-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Christic Henry shared her passion in keeping the history and the culture of Tallahassee's minority communities intact.

"The developer has to bring the community to the table up front, because people love this side of town, they don't want it to become college town," said Henry.

Nestled up next to FAMU Way, Railroad Crossings will be one of the newest projects from Tallahassee's Art District, which has drawn concern from some community members on Facebook.

Those conversations have prompted Co-Owner of the Art District Adam Kaye, to hold community conversations about urban development, and how they can work together with minority communities to achieve the same goal.

"We hope that railroad crossings will be a more BIPOC centric focus aspect of our brand, a property where minority, black, indigenous, and women led businesses can really flourish," said Kaye.

Kaye defends that he wants to give back to the communities he works with. His upcoming talks called 'Community Conversation on Gentrification Prevention of Tallahassee's Southside', have raised the issue of what gentrification is, and how it affects minority communities. The issue spans across Tallahassee, including the Frenchtown area.

"There's a lot of different reasons that explain gentrification, the fact that people want to live closer to work, people are more likely to live in cities than in suburban areas," said Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter. "So, there's a lot of factors that are outside of local government or developers, but I think ultimately incremental planning is the best way to go, making sure that our communities are being invested in on a reoccurring basis."

In Frenchtown, not related to Kaye's projects, Tallahassee Urban League President Curtis Taylor explained that rapid development of the area has pushed out minority businesses, the district now holding multiple student housing complexes.

"When I first game to Tallahassee, we had about 14 minority owned grocery stores in frenchtown, now we have none," said Taylor. "They have replaced our grocery stores with Dollar General stores, where our people are buying junk food rather than healthy food."

For now, Kaye hopes his community conversations about gentrification help bring more sense and understanding to the issue.

"This is a very exciting time," said Kaye. "This is not a conflict story; this is a coming together story."

Adam Kaye says the first community meeting will be held onzoom this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.