What threats do you think neighborhoods are facing, and what would you do to address these issues?
Crime is a major threat and violent crime especially in neighborhoods like Providence. There is a lack of investment in housing in some neighborhoods. To increase the quality of life, the City is working through the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), which has committed $6M to Bond and is working with neighborhoods to invest in those neighborhoods that have been neglected for years. The City has also been working to expand municipal services in the CRA. The encroachment of developers into the neighborhoods is also a threat. People love their neighborhoods and residents want to protect our neighborhoods. Tallahassee needs to grow in a responsible way, not in a negative way. For example in Midtown, the proposed parking garage project was not a good fit for the neighborhoods. Input on how a City grows, growth and other policies must come from neighbors and neighborhood associations.
We’re trying to prevent urban sprawl like Orlando and other cities. Tallahassee is trying to maintain everything within the urban services boundary, and this means more density within this area. Where there are single family homes, the City is looking at triplex, duplex, fourplex types of development not the mega complexes. If a City wants to prevent urban sprawl, it needs to increase density in a way that fits with neighborhoods.
There are many neighborhoods like Killearn that are suffering from unplanned growth. Before you build, the appropriate infrastructure needs to be in place. Tallahassee does not do that. Traffic is horrendous and will only get worse as developments are continually approved. Tallahassee keeps growing but doesn’t have a plan for transportation. Also, there are not enough parks and schools in the northeast. That’s a growing problem. Tallahassee needs to get proactive in our planning for growth.
Tallahassee has threats to the viability of downtown too. If Tallahassee has a plan for a livable 18-hour downtown, I don’t see it. Where are bike lanes and other amenities for livability? The city allows expensive apartments bordering Cascades Park, but no affordable housing. Tallahassee just builds college dorms and expensive apartments. The city sends two messages: come downtown – but have money. A lot of city and state workers can’t live in Tallahassee, particularly close to where they work. We need affordable housing.
Tallahassee has the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), but it is not spending on the right things. Same with Blueprint. Big projects are not the right thing to be doing now. Tallahassee needs to reallocate significant funds to affordable housing. I work with an organization that gets affordable housing done, building a village of tiny houses. The City and County don’t think them as exemplary developments that can solve a real problem. Tallahassee should be broadcasting that kind of housing solution to a national audience.
Group 1 – At Large
I am not sure of major threats to neighborhoods. The Lafayette Oaks homeowner’s association and many other neighborhoods seem more concerned about crime and infrastructure.
I do not see any cohesion where I live. As a homeowner, I advocated for natural gas and for sewer. There was no organization – I had to go house to house. I do not favor overregulation, but I support neighborhood advocacy. Society is becoming too segregated and separated. Neighborhoods can play a role in bringing people together around common issues. For over 25 years I have seen neighborhood associations take on local government through collective action. Neighborhood design can also foster cohesion. Southwood is a mixed-use community. The design created a sense of community. People who live there have pride in their community.
Neighborhoods face lots of development pressures and changes and insufficient planning. Urban infill is desired, but the question is how to achieve it. We need better planning. Tallahassee needs to be more walkable and bikable and we need more bike trails and sidewalks. I didn’t used to feel this way, but now that I am walking and biking more, this has become a more important issue for me.
Because I live in northeast Tallahassee, that is my primary focus. But I think that many of the issues faced by the NE are shared by most communities in Tallahassee, such as new development that puts pressure on existing neighborhoods and the infrastructure to support these new developments. If elected, I will focus on growth in NE Tallahassee and how to regulate and manage this growth. I see the question as: Will we give in to developers or manage this growth? I am also interested in parks and recreational infrastructure for the NE, because there still isn’t any. Broader economic issues for the county are income inequality and crime. Growth, growth management, and infrastructure are the main pressures.