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City Commission votes to update newly-named Southside Action Plan

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - City Commissioners voted to change the name of the “Southern Strategy Area” to the “Southside Action Plan.” The area covers 22.4 square miles on the southern end of Tallahassee.

Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox will be the lead on the project; she discussed why she believes the name change is important.

“Southern Strategy was a political term from back during the Nixon era, and it was not a friendly term, that applied especially to the demographics of the people who live in the southern area of Tallahassee.” said Commissioner Williams-Cox. “I think it’s important to use the word action, because we’ve seen through the 30 years that it’s been in place, there’s not been as much action as there could’ve been and should’ve been.”

City Staff says policies in the plan have not been updated since 1998, and it’s time to do a deep dive. The purpose of the previously-named SSA was to counter balance growth trends occurring in northern and eastern areas of the City. 20% of the SSA is in the County jurisdiction. There are 13 Blueprint projects currently planned within the SSA.

“The time is now that we pay attention to making sure all people have a good quality of life, that they have an opportunity to come up out of poverty,” said Commissioner Williams-Cox. “We are going to treat everybody, to be equitable. Be sure that all parts of town receive the energy that it needs, because we are one City.”

Staff says tools to encourage private investment includes infrastructure projects, annexation, CRA boundary changes, opportunity zone designation, concurrency exemption areas, and the airport.

They’re hoping to get input from citizens on land uses and connections with current transportation systems. Staff says there are quite a few state and federal resources that may be able to help the area.

The County will review the issue at a February meeting; in March, the City and County will have a joint comprehensive plan meeting on consolidating focus areas from the City and County and adopting a public engagement strategy.

Public engagement will begin in April.

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