Young professionals look to make Tallahassee home

May 15, 2012

Young professionals sometimes complain there’s nothing going on in Tallahassee.  Tom Flanigan reports some of them changed their minds after hearing people connected with the Knight Creative Communities Institute.

The talk came at Tuesday’s Access Tallahassee luncheon at the downtown DoubleTree Hotel.  Access Tallahassee, an offshoot of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, is mostly made up of twenty and thirty-something business types.  The speakers before this august gathering were Laurie Hartsfield and Betsy Couch, both with the Knight Creative Communities Institute – K-C-C-I for short.  After a whirlwind presentation about all the local projects K-C-C-I is involved with, one enthusiastic Access Tallahassee member came bounding up to Hartsfield.  He’d gone to school here, moved away, and now was back.  He told her that move was a great decision because so many exciting things are now happening…

“It’s just validation for actually everything we’re working on.  Sometimes you run into roadblocks and people aren’t always pleased.  Old-time Tallahasseeans seem to not be pleased with some of these changes sometimes, but when you hear the young professionals and you hear those people who want to move back to Tallahassee and they don’t have children, that’s what you often hear – Tallahassee’s a great place to raise a family – but when you hear of a young professional couple who wants to move here because Tallahassee is the greatest city in Florida that they want to live in, it’s just validation that we’re doing the right thing every day.”

Some of those “right things”, Hartsfield says, include the Cascades Park project, Midtown makeover, Gaines Street revival, Southside renewal and a host of other “quality-of-life” initiatives.  And while many of these will enhance the social life of younger folks, Hartsfield says older people should like them, too:

“My parents actually live in Fort Worth, Texas and are thinking of moving to Tallahassee.  But honestly, they’ve been over here several times looking at what they can do for culture and arts; how they can walk around, how accessible the city is, how accessible leadership is, what they can do to make a difference and how they can engage in the community.  So I think young or old you’re looking for that way that you can plug in and make a city a home and I think that’s what we’re doing every day is how do we make Tallahassee feel like home for a lot of different people.”

Meanwhile, Hartsfield, Couch and others associated with K-C-C-I are making the local luncheon circuit rounds, trying to get more people involved in the remaking of Florida’s Capital City.