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Let’s face it, Tallahassee isn’t the most beautiful city. We have clubs shut down because of toxic mold. We have questionable neighborhoods (cough*Frenchtown*cough). Hell, we even have a capitol building that looks like a giant penis.
After coming to the realization that our fine city was in desperate need of an extreme makeover, the City of Tallahassee started the Gaines Street Rejuvenation Project. Originating in 2009, this project has been working to bring the area’s hidden arts and culture into public view.
To the untrained eye, Gaines Street looks sketchy. But if you take a closer look you’ll see that this street, and the surrounding All Saints District, are home to some of Tallahassee’s most eclectic businesses, restaurants and music venues. Voodoo Dog, Phaze One Skate Shop and What’s the Point? are only a few of the many attractions this area has to offer.
Phase I of the project focused solely on updating Gaines Street. The road shrunk from four lanes to two, the medians were landscaped and the sidewalks were widened. Unique crosswalk signs, traffic lights and on-street parking were also added. Keeping with the artsy vibe of the area, traffic control boxes were painted with themes relating to the mural located on Railroad Avenue. Phase 1 was completed in Fall 2011.
Phase II began January 2012 and addresses environmental concerns. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the City of Tallahassee with $1 million in federal Brownfield grants. This money is being used for environmental hazard testing and cleanup projects along the Gaines Street Corridor.
The Warehouse, a local pool hall hangout, will benefit the most from the EPA grant. It has been discovered that the property surrounding The Warehouse is contaminated by the previous release of petroleum products from it’s days as a bulk fueling facility. But it doesn’t stop there. The property is also poisoned from arsenical herbicides that were applied along the railroad tracks.
While a date for the overall completion has not been set, the City of Tallahassee is aiming to finish construction by the end of 2012.
Until then, as Ron Burgundy would say, “you stay classy, Tallahassee.”
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