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Market District Draws Little Financial Support in Sense of Place Plan

Posted on February 18, 2016

Market District Draws Little Financial Support in Sense of Place Plan

On February 10, 2015 the Tallahassee City Commission took part in a workshop to discuss efforts focused on fostering a sense of place. The vision is to create more walkable, attractive areas that draw visitors and residents to districts around Tallahassee.

miller

Commissioner Nancy Miller

“Tallahassee’s Sense of Place Districts are a collaboration between government, established local businesses and nearby neighborhoods to improve pedestrian safety in a growing business area,” Commissioner Nancy Miller said. “As a business district thrives, businesses depend on local government to provide the interconnected road system, improved lighting, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc. needed to ensure that visitors can easily move throughout the area. This cooperation is an important way that local government supports local businesses at their front doors. Gaines Street is a successful example, and we have high hopes that similar improvements will continue the business growth in Midtown, Market District, South Monroe and South Adams.”

Following a presentation from staff, the Commission unanimously approved a 2016 work plan.

However, a closer look at the dollars allocated and spent shows the Market District has received significantly less financial support than other areas.

While Gaines Street, due the size of the project, does not facilitate a good comparison, other districts do.

For example, Midtown has been allocated $657,800 and approximately $585,000 has been spent on placemaking goals.

The Monroe-Adams Corridor Action plan was allocated $1,089,000 and approximately $770,000 has been spent on placemaking projects.

However, the Market District, located just north of I-10 on Thomasville Road and home to well over a 150 businesses has been allocated $500,000 and only $21,000 has been spent to implement sense of place goals.

And it does not appear the lack of investment will change anytime soon.

The plan states that the “Planning Department is currently holding the remaining Market District placemaking balance of $479,760 until it is determined how these funds may be utilized in this larger effort.”

The “larger effort” refers to the proposed park and amenities planned for an area now occupied by two retention ponds.

In addition, City staff identified no “implementation highlights” for the Market District as with the other districts.

See details below.

Midtown

The Midtown Action Plan was adopted by the Commission in March 2011 and a total of $657,800 has been allocated toward implementation. The Action Plan includes eight goals with potential implementation through 48 different project ideas. Approximately $110,438 remains available for implementation of project ideas. The Midtown Merchants Association has expressed an interest in utilizing the remaining events budget of $3,356 to support the second annual Taloofa Festival in spring 2016.

Staff estimates that approximately $35,000 of the remaining funds will be needed to support the wayfinding system in Midtown. This results in approximately $72,000 in funds available for project ideas. Planning Department staff is in close communication with the Midtown Merchants Association and these remaining funds could be expended on projects supporting the Action Plan.

Goals from the Midtown Action Plan:

  1. Create a Midtown brand that will help form a visual edge for the district.
  2. Promote the arts through Murals, Music, Fashion and Cuisine.
  3. Relieve parking complications and nuisances.
  4. Identify ways to support local business!
  5. Support urban infill and mixed use buildings for live, work and play.
  6. Create a walkable and bikeable community.
  7. Reclaim or create new public spaces.
  8. Improve traffic safety for all users.

Implementation highlights include:

  • 5th  Avenue Plaza design and construction
  • 5th and 7th Avenue gas lighting
  • Thomasville Road and Gadsden Street crosswalk signals
  • Glenview Drive parking and sidewalk project
  • Support for the Midtown Merchants website
  • Publication of a feature article in Visit Tallahassee Magazine
  • Midtown Merchants winter 2015 billboard campaign
  • Special Events including the opening of 5th Avenue Plaza and the first annual Taloofa Festival
  • Tree Planting on Gadsden and Thomasville
  • Lake Ella art installation by the FSU Master Craftsman Studio

The Monroe-Adams Corridor Action Plan

The Monroe-Adams Corridor Action Plan was adopted by the Commission in June 2011 and a total of $1,089,000 has been allocated toward direct implementation. The Action Plan includes seven goals with potential implementation through 25 different project ideas. Approximately $779,000 of the funds allocated have been utilized to implement project ideas from the plan and significant other investments by the City and BluePrint 2000 along FAMU Way and the Capital Cascades Trail are also furthering the plan ideas.

Approximately $310,000 is available for implementation of project ideas from the Action Plan. Staff estimates that approximately $25,000 is needed for implementation of wayfinding signage in the corridor and this will be implemented over the next few years as sites redevelop and good opportunities for wayfinding sign locations are identified. In order to move forward with additional project ideas, staff will need to invest time to coordinate with groups working in the area to prioritize and further develop the project concepts before implementation can move forward.

Goals from the Monroe-Adams Corridor Action Plan:

  1. Make safe, comfortable streets for pedestrians, transit users and cyclists.
  2. Improve the appearance of public and private properties.
  3. Encourage urban infill and mixed-use buildings.
  4. Inform the public of business incentives, redevelopment assistance, codes and Code Enforcement.
  5. Support local business and bring in new business.
  6. Implement an initial placemaking project.
  7. Follow with improvements to all streets in the Corridor.

Implementation highlights include:

  • Palmer Avenue landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, street resurfacing, and burying of electric utilities
  • Block party to commemorate the grand opening of Palmer Avenue
  • Creating a central gathering place at the Anita Favors Thompson Over the Under Plaza
  • Bridging Monroe Street with the Capital Cascades Crossing project
  • Planned improvements to Magnolia Drive between Adams and Monroe as part of the Magnolia Trail project and development of the Big Bend Cares site

The Market District Action Plan

The Market District Action Plan was adopted by the Commission in October 2011 and a total of $500,000 has been allocated toward implementation. The Action Plan includes eight goals with potential implementation through 49 different project ideas. Planning staff coordinated with the Market District Merchants Association to fund a 2013 feature article promoting the district in Visit Tallahassee magazine and support for the 2013 Market Mayhem community festival. Funds have also been utilized on an appraisal for potential land acquisition to support the concept of developing an urban park around the stormwater facilities along Maclay Boulevard. The remaining fund balance for the Market District is $479,760.

The Market District working group has identified wayfinding signage, landscaping enhancements and crosswalk markings as smaller priority projects for the expenditure of placemaking funds. The working group also identified developing an urban park around the stormwater facilities along Maclay Boulevard as a priority project.

Goals from the Market District Action Plan:

  1. Create a visual edge for the district through gateways and branding.
  2. Make the District a Regional Destination.
  3. Create an aesthetically attractive district.
  4. Support and strengthen local businesses.
  5. Create an interconnected district that links businesses and neighborhoods.
  6. Reclaim or create new public spaces.
  7. Improve traffic safety for all users.
  8. Knit the district together across Thomasville Road.

No implementation highlights were noted.

City Underground Utilities is currently focused on infrastructure planning for the enhanced Maclay Boulevard Stormwater Facility. A consultant has been retained and staff anticipates a preliminary engineering report in mid-2016. After the preliminary engineering is prepared for the basic functioning of the improved stormwater treatment system, public outreach and engagement regarding the potential park facilities around the pond can begin. The Planning Department is currently holding the remaining Market District placemaking balance of $479,760 until it is determined how these funds may be utilized in this larger effort.

4 Responses to Market District Draws Little Financial Support in Sense of Place Plan

  1. Franklin Thompson Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    This ‘sense of place’ has been around for years in Tallahassee without a cent of tax money being spent to create it. A sense of place used to be in the downtown area, when it was all businesses and also in the ‘midtown’ area before anyone ever labeled it as ‘midtown’. That ‘sense’ has left downtown but is still in ‘midtown’. Whenever government indicates it intends to pursue (create) something that happens naturally as a result of citizen activity, we should cast a wary eye at it. A sense of place is a feeling from the residents of the area…not a government creation.

  2. Roger Osborne Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    If the City wants to create a sense of place, they need to start to have some consistency in the application of the zoning code and not make exceptions for friends, family and community organizers.

  3. R B Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Reducing 4 lane roads to two lane roads (Gains Street used to be a traffic mover, now a traffic stopper), massive sidewalk projects (mostly on southside), $7 million dollar bridges across a 150 wide street (S. Monroe at RR track underpass) , jogging /walking trails all over town that fewer than 10% of the population ever use, businees fix up such as French Town where massive $ were spent on sidewalk plantings, Store front awnings ( that virtually were destroyed or disappeared over time ), street/curb improvements, etc. , and countless other do-gooder projects simply drain the resoures necessary to implement improved traffic carrying thoroughfares so badly needed in Tallahassee. A few more Blairstone Road projects to move traffic around and across town would be money well spent. Wake up taxpayers!

  4. James Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Re: Market District, perhaps they’re holding out for what’s to come with the potential leveling of Market Square.

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