Gaines Street's TGIF
Road Set to Reopen
August 06, 2014
Commuters, area residents and area business owners will soon be merry as they go 'round on Gaines Street. The segment between Lake Bradford Road/Stadium Drive and Railroad Avenue will reopen to traffic in time for the evening rush hour on Friday, August 8.
With the opening of the roundabout at Gaines Street and Woodward Avenue, the final phase of the Gaines Street project is nearing completion. The finishing touch to the roadway will be the installation this fall of Declaration, a unique, colorful, glass and light sculpture in the center of the roundabout. The piece is the work of renowned artist Kenneth von Roenn, director of the Florida State University Master Craftsman Studio, which is located at the roundabout.
The idea of creating a destination district on Gaines Street started more than 20 years ago with a group of citizens. Spurred by this idea and continued citizen support, the Tallahassee City Commission, with financial assistance from Leon County and the State of Florida, committed to investing in major infrastructure improvements along the corridor.
"When considering taking on a traditional roadway project in a non-traditional way, there are often debates with those who prefer the status quo. We experienced that on this project. However, thanks to forward-thinking citizens and leaders, the bold vision for the Gaines Street corridor has gone from concept to successful reality," Mayor John Marks said. "The area has transformed into a destination district that is growing by leaps and bounds with spaces to eat, shop, play and stay, while maintaining its independent spirit and eclectic vibe."
Since 2009, the City of Tallahassee has been working on infrastructure improvements including replacing aging underground utilities, reconstructing the roadway and adding enhanced landscaping and pedestrian amenities. The goal was to create a pedestrian friendly area with the necessary infrastructure to allow increased development and provide more reliable service to existing customers. The overall vision was to create a vibrant urban corridor with public art displays, businesses and live/work spaces. The public investment in Gaines Street has helped generate more than $204 million in new, private development in the district
While new development is creating more retail and residential opportunities in the area, the heart of Gaines Street has and continues to be its strong local business base. From automotive repair and fabulous fashions to fun night spots and tasty treats, Gaines Street and the larger All Saints District are home to many long-standing, locally owned and operated businesses that have remained dedicated to the community throughout construction.
"Local businesses are the backbone of our community, and the Gaines Street area continues to be a major hub for local commerce," Mayor Marks said. "By supporting these and other local businesses, we support our town and our neighbors. Of every dollar spent at a local business, nearly 70 cents stays in our local economy. That's a return-on-investment worth making."
The work associated with the Gaines Street revitalization has been a multi-year, multi-discipline, multi-jurisdictional project. Funding came from a variety of sources including $17 million from the City and $10.7 million from Leon County. The majority of the City and County funding was approved as part of the 2005 sales tax extension. An additional $7 million came from the State of Florida.
Today, the area continues toward the goal of becoming a destination for citizens and visitors and is truly a place unlike any other in the city.
For more information on the Gaines Street project, please visit Talgov.com/Gaines. Information is also available by liking Gaines Street on Facebook or by following @GainesStreet on Twitter.
Steve Shafer, Public Works, 891-8234; or Alison Faris, Communications Department, 891-8533