Groundbreaking Impact

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If you drive on the south side of Tallahassee, expect to see lots of construction happening on Orange Avenue, and if you live in the area, expect to see steady improvements.

Bulldozers will be a familiar sound for the next two years for folks who live and work around Orange Avenue between South Monroe Street and Blairstone Road.

The Orange Avenue expansion project kicked off Saturday morning as county commissioners and planners broke ground to celebrate the road improvement, but south side residents say it's more than just a road improvement.

Perry West, the Apalachee Ridge Neighborhood Association president, says, "We celebrate the citizens of the south side. Just about five years ago, I and several members of our community, we embarked upon a quest to champion the causes of our youth."

Championing the youth of the south side includes getting rid of a large drainage ditch, which area residents say is dangerous. It also includes adding value and a stronger sense of community to the area.

Carol Davis, a south side resident says, "If it's going to bring businesses to the south side, which will help economics in this area so that more people will want to move to this area, have their children go to school here. I think that's a good thing."

Annie Murl Graves says, "It improves everything. It improves the way of living, it improves the religious work, it improves our health; it improves everything. It improves everything about us."

The $28 million expansion project is the largest and most expensive investment the county has ever made in the south side.

Revenue from the 1989 penny sales tax will pay for the project. The Orange Avenue expansion project is scheduled to be completed in July 2007.