Meeting of the Minds, Part 5

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What's on the drawing board for Tallahassee in terms of economic development and growth? As Tallahassee grows by leaps and bounds, the City Commission is taking steps to make sure the capital city doesn't suffer too many growing pains.

John Marks, Tallahassee Mayor, says, "We have to manage our growth, and that's important for government to manage and control the growth in a responsible way."

This particular city commission says it's dedicated to revitalizing downtown Tallahassee.

Mayor Marks says, "We've got projects, we've got projects in downtown Tallahassee, now on Kleman Plaza, the Tennyson, K-2 Corp condo projects."

City commissioners say that getting people to live downtown will be one of the keys to success.

Mark Mustian, City of Tallahassee Commissioner, says, "Because it feeds everything else. If we have the people there, we'll get the retail, we'll get the restaurants. Our main focus is twofold; getting people downtown and making it a destination so you want to go down there, so it's kind of hand in glove."

The city is also working on areas immediately outside of the downtown area.

Mark Mustian says, "We just got responses for RFQS. We sent out about for some of the downtown properties, including the piece on Monroe and Tennessee and some of the pieces on Gaines Street, so we're very pleased; we got 10 responses."

Mayor Marks says, "We're excited about that. We're going to go through those proposals. We're going to pick the best of the best to see what we can bring to Tallahassee along the Gaines Street corridor and on Tennessee and Monroe Street."

At the Tallahassee chamber retreat, you'll learn that Tallahassee isn't just growing in one particular spot.

Dr. Bill Law of the Economic Development Council says, "We need to grow from within. There's lots of opportunities to expand. I think we have some national and international businesses here that are looking to grow and expand. We have 1,700 small businesses that are part of the chamber, and that's a great opportunity if we can grow that part."

Right now the Economic Development Council is working on wooing a new unnamed company into making Tallahassee its headquarters.

"We could not design a better company to attract to Tallahassee. They're looking for engineers and they're a green company, and the kinds of expertise at our engineering schools is what they need for their business. It couldn't be a more perfect marriage."

Taken as a whole, commissioners and many business leaders say Tallahassee is doing just fine.

Also from the chamber retreat, an update on the Performing Arts Center: locations have been narrowed down to four: the Civic Center, Sunland, Railroad and Gaines Streets, plus Monroe and Tennessee Streets.