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Tallahassee's Frenchtown Community Celebrates Revitalization

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Ervin Gilliam knows a thing or two about Frenchtown. The barbershop he took over from his father has been a community staple for more than 40 years.

"The revitalization process is bringing in more students and housing. This is all good for the community and it helps the businesses in the area," says Gilliam.

Once abandoned buildings and vacant lots are now new homes with more on the way. Signs of construction and new sidewalks are everywhere. Frenchtown has also become a new home to city and county leaders. Some say it reminds them of how things were before.

"In the early days you could come down and do all of your shopping, go to the grocery store, eat, buy clothing, etc. It seems some of those things are coming back now. You can see businesses starting to be developed again," says Tallahassee resident Jerome Dilworth.

Natalie Frison, who often brings her son Tyler to get his hair cut at Gilliam's shop, feels the new life in Frenchtown has been good medicine for an area some have associated with drugs and crime.

"I definitely don't have a problem walking down here at any time. The homeless around here, they don't bother you at all, so I feel pretty safe coming down here, and I've been coming here for years," says Frison.

Right now, local leaders have a big storm water plan in the works to assist with flooding concerns in the area.


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