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Canopy Project Gets Approval

A multi-million dollar development project that has been years in the making is one more step closer to being reality.

But not without controversy.

Wednesday night, February, 23, the Tallahassee City Commission voted to approve the development agreement for the Welaunee Development, also known as the Canopy Project.

Since 2007, it has sparked a debate over progress versus destruction.

A 505 acre development off Centerville Road just got the green light from Tallahassee city commissioners.

Fred Ranly lives in the area. He said, "I'm for it, simply to the fact that for so many years in Tallahassee we've denied growth of any kind. It's been one of those situations where we've had a lot of old money, old school Tallahassee that's wanted to keep things the way that it's been."

The Canopy Project includes a maximum of 162,927 square feet of commercial or office space, between 1,258 to 1,572 residential units--including single-family homes, townhomes, and another 25 percent set aside for affordable housing.

Area resident O'Neal Jackson said, "We need all that stuff. It would also increase the tax base by cutting that plantation up. Even if you cut it up into acre lots and put $200,000 houses on it, it would bring money into the tax base, which is needed."

The plan calls for extending Welaunee Boulevard beyond where it now dead ends at Fleischmann Road.

Eyewitness News spoke with many people who live off of Centerville, Fleischmann, and Miccosukee Roads who say they don't want the "Canopy Project " to destroy those canopy roads.

None wanted to talk on camera.

But, Jackson added, "Notice on this interview, there's plenty trees around me, I love trees. But, we're going to have to push down trees to create roads."

The project will reportedly create about 2,000 jobs.

There are still a lot of steps to go, such as permitting and site plan approval.

Administrators say it could take a couple more years before the development gets underway.

City administrators say it also depends on whether the federal government choses the development for a new V.A. clinic. City administrators say right now Welaunee is a potential site.


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