Growth, development and infrastructure are rising to the top of the priority list for the candidates who want to represent the Northwest corridor of Leon County. The County's Third District is up for grabs this year.
The area encompases Lake Jackson and North Monroe. And during the past several years its seen a steady decline in businesses and growth-- even though it’s a major entry point into Tallahassee. But County Commission Candidate Carlos Rey believes it can be more:
“Some people call it 'No-Mo' unfortunately—No movement, no motion nothing going on over there. SoMo [South Monroe Street]has gotten attention. [Bryan] Desloge’s district has gotten attention. We have to focus on this section which are the starting places for families and professionals. Come here. They can afford to live here. And we can market it for people who want to start here in Tallahassee," he says.
Ray thinks making the area more family friendly by increasing the amount of sidewalks and improvements to Lake Jackson could bolster residential attractiveness and he wants to see small manufacturers come back to the area. And fellow hopeful Kyle Frost agrees. He thinks making more infrastructure money available could help grow that. And he’s looking at introducing a community redevelopment agency to support infrstrcture growth.
“People walk to the bus stop at the corner of Mission and Gearheart, and it’s dark. It’s not safe. We need lighting and sidewalks, and I think that, along with potentially a CRA up there, will give it a kick in the back and get going.”
But candidate Emily Fritz says a CRA for North Monroe may not be the answer. Instead, she thinks the county should bank on the areas natural attractions.
"It’s a beautiful place. There are beautiful trees and the county could market it as a great place to live because it’s beautiful up there.”
Banking on what’s already there could help create what district three contender Rick Minor calls “a sense of place” for the area. He says other parts of Tallahassee have it. Why not District Three?
“We need to create what we have in midtown, what we have developing in other parts of Tallahassee so that people who don’t want to drive two miles to Publix can go around the corner and go to a destination and go grocery shopping and do other things too," Minor says.
Ray, Frost, Fritz and Minor are all vying to represent Leon County’s Third District—a seat occupied by John Dailey, who is vacating it to run for mayor of Tallahassee. Also in the running is Rex Rekstis. All candidates, with the exception of Rekstis, appeared Tuesday on WFSU’s Perspectives show.