Time for a Last Look

From the Publisher

Most people are creatures of habit and generally have a basic routine to their day, their week and, often, their year. Of course, having such routines lend stability and a general predictability to life, often resulting in a higher level of happiness and peace.

But perhaps it’s time to mix up our day-to-day drill a little — and I have a suggestion for one way to make it happen.

Because of the composition of our mailing list, I know the majority of Tallahassee Magazine’s readers live on the north side of town. And I surmise that many stay in that “comfort zone” for their daily activities. As a result, they probably don’t often venture into the southwest side of town unless they’re headed to the airport, a football game, an event at the civic center or the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Sciences.

But now we have an incredible opportunity to see a community transformation in progress — a change to our landscape that will forever alter the way Tallahassee looks. Major developments — residential and commercial — are in the works that I believe will entice the overall population of our community to venture more frequently to the part of town that begins at the southwest corner of Monroe and Tennessee streets.

With some of its traditional-styled streetlamps and wide sidewalks already installed, we’re getting an inkling of what the “new” Gaines Street will look like once all the aggravating construction and rerouting are done.

It looks to become an enticing and enjoyable promenade. We’ve been promised an 18-hour downtown for decades now, but I think the artistic flavor of “G Street,” as well as the possibilities for residential and retail, bring us closer to that reality.

In Tallahassee’s pioneer days, there was a true cascade — a waterfall — in the area at the head of Gaines Street now being redeveloped into Cascade Park. With roadways and fences and buildings that have been there throughout my years in Tallahassee, I often wondered how beautiful and scenic that spot must have been originally to have inspired people to settle here.

With all the earth moving and construction fencing going on now, it’s hard for me to “see” what the future holds for Cascade Park, so I’m trusting that the vision of others will bring beauty back to a blighted area.

And that this new, beautiful place will serve as an attraction for Tallahasseeans who have stuck close to home in the past.

Of course, the diamond-in-the-rough that is Railroad Square is chugging along. It’s the centerpiece of the monthly First Fridays and a place to embrace all things New Age and artistic.

I believe once these projects are complete, private development will step in to revive the dilapidated and underutilized spaces along the Gaines Street “entrance” to Tallahassee and make the city’s southwest a point of community pride.

So, plan a family field trip this month. Take some time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to look at the massive construction project underway at Cascade Park and then drive down Gaines Street toward Doak Campbell Stadium. Capture a glimpse of the transformation that is on its way because soon it will forever be a memory.

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