Downtown Tallahassee Development Plan

The city wants to take drastic tax measures to improve Tallahassee's downtown. It's a fight over three letters, CRA. That stands for Community Redevelopment Act. It's something the city says would be good for downtown Tallahassee, but the county thinks it's bad news.

Downtown Tallahassee is miles away from the rural Leon County community of Fort Braden. It's where Leon County commissioners came to educate citizens like Craig Fletcher about their fight against a downtown development deal.

"You're seeing the renovation of the downtown area already. Look at the All Saints neighborhood, they don't need anything additional," says Craig Fletcher, a Fort Braden resident.

The CRA would put property tax increases downtown into a special fund earmarked for downtown development.

"It's going to be a big hit to our local taxpayers. It'll be money out of their pocket that we will not be able to provide service they now expect, or it's going to be an increase in taxes," says Jane Sauls, Leon County Commissioner.

But the city says its plan would bring back a strong downtown and a stronger local economy for the whole county. County commissioners encouraged citizens to lobby the city against the plan.

"I can't believe city commissioners are going to pay any attention to us out here. Seems like the only thing they're asking us to do is to call city commissioners and protest it," says George Farr, a Fort Braden resident.

City and county commissioners will hash out their differences in an open meeting on September 15 at City Hall. In fact, it's an extension of that Frenchtown CRA. Proponents say similar measures are needed to revitalize both areas. Opponents like the county say Frenchtown is quite different from downtown.