City survey seeks ideas for future development
By Anjelicia Bruton
Ronald Williams is an advocate for growth, but he would like to see city government take a first-things-first approach when it comes to improving the infrastructure around Tallahassee.
Williams is exactly the type of person that city planning officials would like to hear from — no matter how strong their views. Through May 31, the city would like to hear suggestions on how it might best come up with a growth plan in preparation for a population increase that is trending upward.
The city government would like to hear suggestions on police and public safety, affordable housing, cultural and special events, public transportations and roadway maintenance and replacements, park and recreation programs and facilities.
Ronald Williams, president of FAMU Neighborhood Association, has an idea on how the city can improve public transportation.
“We need more bus stops,” Williams said. “You’ll see people standing or sitting on the ground and I’ve seen people standing in the rain. They need more benches at the bus stops and more shelter, especially around healthcare centers. Every bus stop should have a place to sit.”
That could all be part of the city’s plan when it’s said and done. However, the government’s primary focus is geared towards expansion and urbanization. Potential growth could be massive, considering that Census Bureau figures indicated that Tallahassee’s population increased by 27,946 from between 2000 and 2010.
During that period Williams has seen a lot of changes, but not ones that have benefited his community.
“I think they should do a better job of taking care of the people that are already here. The people who have been here a long time, to the people who have been paying taxes for years.”
Williams or anyone who has any ideas can take the survey on the city’s website (www.talgov.com). This survey is bridging the gap between the community and the government, said City Manager Ricardo Fernandez, and that input based on the seven categories from this survey will also be used in developing the fiscal year 2017 budget.
“This will allow us to better develop a proposed city budget that allocates resources that truly meet the needs of the community,” Fernandez said. “It is important that we hear from citizens and understand what they care about most.”
In recent years, taxpayer dollars have been used to develop the area around the new Cascades Park to bring in more visitors with attractions such as restaurants, event space, galleries and other businesses.
Tax dollars have also paid for public transportation improvements such as electric StarMetro buses for a few years. The city recently added mobile apps that can locate buses.
Changes like those have been witnessed by Susana Garcia, a Miami native who has lived in Tallahassee for the past 12 years.
“Tallahassee has definitely expanded; especially in the last three years, with the renovation of Gaines Street and the Midtown area,” said Garcia. “There has definitely been a shift with where the economy has gone. The North side of the FSU stadium has died down quite a bit while the south side of the FSU campus has blown up.”
Garcia also said that she has seen a great amount of change in each of the categories listed in the survey, but police and public safety should be most important when spending taxpayers’ dollars.
“They’re pretty well funded as it is,” she said. “However, if the money is going to training of the officers, then yes it would be most important.”