Providence Neighborhood launches revitalization efforts

Published: Feb. 17, 2020 at 10:19 PM EST
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By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 17, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Back in January,

as the group wanted to get a closer look at how people in the area are beginning to bring it back to life.

Another Tallahassee community wants to do the same thing to make sure they're not left behind as the Providence Neighborhood launched a new effort aimed at improving their home.

It's a small section of town, it's nestled between FAMU and the Maglab, but it's in a prime location and is trying to set itself up for the future.

"We call it the community on the hill," said resident Steve Washington. "We also call it a beacon of light."

Fitting nicknames for a neighborhood called Providence.

"It's a neighborhood who cares and shares," said Walter McDonald, who leads the neighborhood association. He remembers a time, in the 90s, when crime rates soared.

"This neighborhood was so bad, that the police wouldn't come here unless there were three or four cars deep that could come here," he explained.

But, McDonald's father helped start a crime watch, sparking the creation of a renaissance neighborhood plan, approved in 2003.

The pioneering effort created new sidewalks, street lights and housing.

Now, McDonald and others say recent city decisions highlight the need for action.

"There's always situation where the City of Tallahassee will blindside you and not tell you the full truth about what's going to happen to your neighborhood," he said.

McDonald argues his neighborhood is reacting to major changes, like the approved Airport Gateway Project. Monday's launch is an effort to take control.

"That way, w'ere not blindsided when things come up to us," he said. "We know exactly what's happening in our neighborhood."

All sorts of city officials joined the conversation.

"If we want to make the sustain change we need in our communities, it takes all of us working together," said Cynthia Barber, Assistant City Manager.

And, despite his frustrations, McDonald says he'll cooperate.

Others are confident the city will listen.

"Now is our opportunity to speak for our voice and see what we can do for the kids and the people of this community," Washington said.

Survey's will be sent out next month. With that data shared during an April meeting, this all ends with a refreshed plan that could lead to the funding of new projects.