At the December 14th Leon County Commission meeting, the Board accepted the Citizens’ North Monroe Street Corridor Task Force Final Report and staff recommendations.
On April 13, 2021, the Board created the Citizens’ North Monroe Street Corridor Task Force to examine issues along the corridor, from Fred George Road and Tharpe Street, including infrastructure and aesthetic improvements, crime reduction and safety, and responding to the impacts of homelessness.
“The North Monroe I-10 corridor is the number one gateway into Tallahassee. More people come into our community through that point than at any other point,” said Commissioner Rick Minor during a meeting in April 2021, when a task force was being considered.
In recent months the task force comprised of 12 citizen members investigated serious concerns related to North Monroe Street between Fred George Road and Tharpe Street. The analysis also included ideas for how Leon County may implement improvements.
The 65-page report presented to the Board detailed three main components the task force focused on: overall area improvements, crime, and homelessness.
There were already efforts underway to improve the area by the FDOT and the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency. For example, the FDOT has invested about $10 million in the corridor with new bike lanes and median improvements over the last ten years.
Blueprint intends to invest roughly $11 million in the planned North Monroe Gateway Project, including landscaping and new signage.
Along with these efforts, the task force recommends the county explore the option for a Welcome Center and Welcome signage near I-10. Other improvements include:
- The restriping and new pavement markings where necessary.
- Encourage additional and new landscaping efforts.
- Encourage the installation of additional bus stops along the corridor.
- Request FDOT to mitigate the gaps in sidewalk access.
- Reevaluate the Lake Protection Node and examine retail land use.
In response to crime and human trafficking along North Monroe, the task force received reports on crime statistics from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC). As a result, the task force made several suggestions to the county, including:
- Prepare a Proclamation supporting Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January) and identify opportunities for county engagement.
- Continue to support the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center to educate and train business owners and residents to recognize and respond to human trafficking.
- Encourage the Human Services Street Outreach Team to participate in STAC’s human trafficking awareness training.
- The county should request the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to assess compliance for signage and training of staff at public lodging establishments.
- Identify tactics to educate citizens and businesses about programs offered by local law enforcement agencies and encourage the use of these programs.
Lastly, the task force made recommendations to the county to respond to homelessness along the corridor. The team attended presentations by the Big Bend Continuum of Care (BBCoC), the Salvation Army, the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC), and Leon County Office of Human Services and Community Partnerships. These proposals include:
- The continuation of support for the Street Outreach Team to provide housing and shelter to people experiencing homelessness.
- The design of a one-page resource guide which includes contacts for businesses and residents for various outreach teams and resource links.
- Lastly, fund the Homelessness Outreach Street Team (HOST) Deputies, who will address homeless individuals disrupting businesses or trespassing.
You can view the full report here.