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Community Input Affects Changes To Tallahassee's Cascades Park

Cascades Park
City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee’s Cascades Park has been a local hotspot since it opened in March. Now the park is getting an update due, in part, to community input.

Blueprint 2000, the intergovernmental agency in charge of developing the park, approved the $883,000 budget  for park upgrades Monday afternoon. The funds will come from the agency’s unallocated project fund and an engineering project surplus.

Blueprint 2000 Senior Planner Autumn Calder says some of the additions are a direct response to input from the community and the Tallahassee Parks Department. The agency will be improving safety conditions around the park by adding more shading structures, handicap-accessible ramps, and barricades to help direct traffic.

“There’s actually an area where the street makes a severe turn, and to keep people from going straight on that street we’ve put in some bollards there to keep cars from going into the plaza area on the park,” Calder says.

She says the agency will further develop the park’s Smokey Hollow commemoration. Smokey Hollow was an African-American community located east of Tallahassee’s downtown area during the 19th and 20th centuries. Increased development of the city led to the community’s disappearance in the ‘60s. Currently the park features recreations of the community’s houses as well as a tribute fountain.

Calder says phase two of the tribute will tell Smokey Hollow’s story to park visitors.

“In the commemoration we’re going to be building a pavilion, we’re going to be building community garden boxes, also historical panels that will tell on a fact basis: Smokey Hollow was a community in the late 1800s through the 1960s that was African-American and self-supportive,” Calder says.

The Tallahassee Parks Department will meet next week to determine when construction for the additions begins.