Tallahassee, Florida - August 19, 2011
The City of Tallahassee staged a popular flash mob dance last year that kicked-off the Gaines Street Project, and the celebration continues as construction of the first phase of the planned improvements nears completion. In appreciation of the area businesses that have endured the challenges associated with the construction of the improvements, the City will host the Gaines Street Block Party on Friday, August 26, from 6-10 p.m.
With support from Leon County, the Community Redevelopment Agency, Council on Culture and Arts, SANDCO, Inc. and Genesis Group, this family-friendly event is free and will feature live music provided by four area bands, local artists' exhibits, bicycle challenges, food vendors, an interactive Geopardy! game and more! Kids of all ages can enjoy activities including face painting, sack races, a coloring station, a bounce house and free snow cones.
"This event is a way to say thank you to the businesses and to the community for enduring the dust, traffic shifts and construction. We hope that everyone will come out and see the progress firsthand and enjoy the new look as the vision for Gaines Street unfolds," said Roxanne Manning, Interim Planning Manager for the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department.
Construction began in May 2010 on reconfiguring the road from Monroe Street to Macomb Street and adding distinct Gaines Street features. The improvements are designed to help promote Gaines Street a unique 'destination' district in Tallahassee with cultural, business and residential developments to complement the existing retail community along the corridor.
Attendees of the event can expect to see noticeable changes including the addition of specialty street signage, decorative lighting, wide sidewalks with enhanced crosswalks, and extensive landscaping. Visitors will also notice specific design elements in on-street amenities such as benches, waste receptacles, tree grates and fencing. Also visible, will be several environmentally friendly bioswales. Best defined as landscaped islands between sidewalks and the roadway, bioswales use the landscaping and a filter system to clean stormwater runoff before it is transferred into the underground drainage pipes.
Those planning to attend the event can take advantage of free parking at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, the Performing Arts Center site located between Bronough and Duval Streets just north of Gaines Street and the City-owned public lots at the corner of Gaines and Duval Streets and, Gaines and Bronough Streets.
The Gaines Street Project is part of the City Commission's goal to create an 18-hour, pedestrian friendly downtown. During the coming years, as the economy improves and development demand increases, this vital link between both area universities and downtown will become an urban corridor with public art displays, businesses and live/work spaces. Staff anticipates that construction on Phase II of the project, between Macomb Street and Stone Valley Way, will begin later this year.