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Blueprint gets an Earful from Unhappy Residents

Tom Flanigan

The proposed extension of Tallahassee’s Killearney Boulevard – part of the “Northeast Gateway” road project – brought hundreds of area homeowners to Tallahassee City Hall the evening of Thursday, September 5.

The combined City of Tallahassee and Leon County commissions, sitting as the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, heard their concerns, which included these statements:

“I’m opposed to the entry on Shamrock. I don’t like it, I think it’s a bad deal and it’s going to hurt a lot of folks!” “My common sense is telling me in no uncertain terms that this road makes little sense.” “What Blueprint presented us was too much information, too little time, no options, it was too rigid, locked in and no alternatives were presented.”

The amount of public outcry had City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow questioning the way Blueprint project decisions are made.

“The process right now is a sham and it’s circular and nobody wants to own up!” he exclaimed to much applause and cheers from the disgruntled homeowners.

That brought rebukes from most of Matlow’s colleagues and a plea for a truce from Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier.

“We have to heed what’s happening tonight and get a strategic plan for how we do this better so we don’t end up here screaming at each other,” she urged.

The Agency has now agreed to consider other route options for the road and to better involve residents in the process. There was also some public opposition Thursday evening to the FAMU Way extension, a project that is already well underway. Southside resident Dr. Geraldine Seay was suspicious of the neighborhoods impacted by this and other road projects.

“These black neighborhoods begin to be subsumed into a ‘better way,’ she observed during remarks before the Agency. “We see this at the Boynton Still project. And I took a look at a map for the Airport Gateway and I’m taken aback. The original plan was a straightforward thing, but the revised (plan) seems to be people going out of their way to go through this black neighborhood.”

Others who spoke on the issue decried the loss of several large oak trees and old houses for the FAMU Way extension. The Intergovernmental Agency ultimately agreed to move forward with that project as planned.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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