Blueprint IA Board votes on funding for North Florida Innovation Labs, design of skateable art, and timeline of Northeast Park
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Thursday, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, made up of both City of Tallahassee and Leon County Commissioners, voted on the North Florida Innovation Labs grant, design for the skateable art park on Capital Cascades Trail, and a new location and timeline for the Northeast Park.
The Blueprint Board voted to move up the timeline of the Northeast Park at Thursday’s meeting after Leon County Commissioners voted to relocate the proposed park at the end of January.
County Commissioner Brian Welch told WCTV he was hoping the relocation could accelerate the timeline of construction on the $10 million park project to line up with the Northeast Gateway.
The park has now been placed in a five year window, rather than scheduled for funding in 2035.
The previous location of the park was to be at the intersection of Thomasville Road and Proctor Road; the County voted to sell that plot of land and purchase a new one on Centreville Road.
The new location is adjacent to Montford Middle School and Roberts Elementary School; it has 22,000 more people living within a five mile radius than the original location.
“This will allow for a much expedited potential construction of that park in a new location, in a better location serving more people, at potential cost savings because of the synergy created with the Northeast Gateway project,” said Welch.
Commissioners voted in favor of the option increasing the planned bond issuance, in order to move the park timeline up. That option will not impact ongoing Blueprint projects, but could delay some projects slated for funding later.
The change of the park’s location requires an amendment; according to the agenda item, public hearings on the issue will be held in March and April.
North Florida Innovation Labs
City and County Commissioners voted on the MOU for $2.5 million in matching funds for the North Florida Innovation Labs at Innovation Park.
Former U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, visited Innovation Park in September, presenting a 10 million dollar grant, but that funding required a local match. FSU, OEV, and Innovation Labs partnered to match the funding.
The grant money will be used for the construction of the North Florida Innovation Labs, which will be located in Innovation Park. That space will include wet labs, dry labs and maker space technology.
These labs will also include support services to help companies grow their business side.
Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier spoke about the need to keep skilled talent in this area.
She says the labs will fill a gap that will help businesses take root here.
“Historically, there have been companies that have come out of the universities, people who have great ideas and want to start a company, who have had to go and find space other places in Florida or out of state; they need these labs and this support system to help these companies grow,” said Dozier.
Commissioner Dozier says this is something they have worked on for years, and they plan to be breaking ground by March of 2022.
Capital Cascades Trail Skateable Art
An empty space along the Capital Cascades Trail at Railroad Square is ready to be transformed into “skateable art.”
The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency approved design plans for a skate park Thursday evening.
“Love how the FAMU rattler ties in, both in an artistic manner, but also with the university,” Mayor John Dailey told Blueprint staff. “Love how you took a nuisance at Cascades Park with the war memorial to inspire a skateable design, at both ends of the park, job well done.”
The original proposal for this skate park came from a desire to dissuade skating on war memorials in Cascades Park. This will give skating enthusiasts their own spot near downtown.
The entire park is almost 500 feet long, with nine different obstacles in the street course; it also the longest snake run feature in the state of Florida, a play on the FAMU Rattler.
Design and construction will cost just over 1 million dollars.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for Spring of 2021, with construction anticipated to be complete in September.
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