The Tallahassee-Leon County Greenways Program was created in 1993. This program is authorized and guided by Objective 6.1 of the Conservation Element of the Tallahassee - Leon County Comprehensive Plan, and by Policies 6.1.1, 6.1.2, 6.1.3, and 6.1.4.
Objective 6.1: [C] (Effective 6/25/96);
Local government shall implement a county-wide greenways network. It shall be the intent of the greenways network to provide for integrated natural resources management and protection, resource-based recreation, educational and historical interpretive opportunities, and increased opportunities for alternative modes of transportation with an emphasis on connectivity among these resources.
The original goal of this program was to build a community-wide greenways system intended to protect and manage riparian corridors, floodplains, and other environmentally sensitive areas, as well as scenic areas, vistas, places of historic and cultural significance, and native plant and animal habitat. Another goal was to connect greenways and parks to neighborhoods, schools, shopping, and work destinations through a system of shared use paths and trails. The updated Greenways Master Plan retains these goals with an emphasis on connectivity.
Using a combination of donations, grants, and other funds, approximately 7,463 acres worth an estimated $67.3 million have been voluntarily acquired as of early 2013 using $21.6 million of local funds. (The 502-acre Miccosukee Greenway and the 876 acre J.R. Alford Greenway were acquired by the State of Florida, but are managed by Leon County.) There are several greenway acquisitions that have not yet been opened to the public, pending funding for improvements such as parking areas and trails. However, several of these projects are currently underway as of early 2015.
The first edition of the Tallahassee - Leon County Greenways Master Plan, adopted by the Tallahassee City Commission and Leon County Board of County Commissioners in July 2004, was intended to provide guidance to local government for the continued implementation of environmental land acquisition activities to protect large-scale ecosystems, water quality, and floral and faunal habitat, and to provide passive (resource-based) recreational areas for residents and visitors to the Tallahassee/Leon County area. The Greenways Master Plan implements Policy 6.1.2 of the Conservation Element in the Tallahassee - Leon County Comprehensive Plan:
Policy 6.1.2: [C] (Effective 6/25/96; Revision Effective 7/20/05)
The Tallahassee-Leon County Greenways Master Plan is the overall guiding document for the planning, acquisition, development, and management of the local greenways network. Local government shall incorporate the objectives of the Greenways Master Plan in its long-range land use, leisure, conservation, and transportation planning activities where applicable, and reflect the presence of greenway features and design in permitting activities. The Planning Department in consultation with other City and County departments and other local agencies as appropriate shall be responsible for identifying and coordinating the acquisition or protection of the elements of a county-wide greenways system.
Since adoption of the original 2004 Master Plan, the emphasis of the Greenways Program has shifted from acquiring new lands towards increasingly connecting and providing amenities to greenways already in public ownership. Towards that purpose, the 2015 Tallahassee - Leon County Greenways Master Plan Update describes 32 proposed greenway trail projects, including trail length, surface, width, related improvements and amenities, and an estimated cost. The total length of all proposed trails is approximately 152 miles. These planned trail projects come from a variety of sources, including the adopted 2004 Plan, Blueprint 2000, the Leon County Department of Public Works (including the Division of Parks and Recreation), and the City of Tallahassee's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs. Public input has been provided at various times and places, including a public meeting of user groups and other organizations and individuals on March 14, 2013 to review the proposed projects and to solicit additional proposals for evaluation. Invited groups for this meeting included 1,000 Friends of Florida, the Capital City Cyclists, the Southern Trail Riders, the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, the State Office of Greenways and Trails, the Gulf Winds Track Club, the Council of Neighborhood Associations, and the U.S. Forest Service. Additional input was gathered from neighborhood associations, Visit Tallahassee, the Chamber of Commerce Leads Groups 4, 6, and 8, and the City/County Bike-Ped Working Group. Neighborhood associations were also contacted by mail, and presentations to several associations were made by Planning staff upon request.
The 2015 Update to the Greenways Master Plan incorporated three additional projects that were proposed by private landowners, members of the public, and local government staff. This update was adopted during their regular meetings by the Leon County Board of County Commissioners on July 7, 2015, and by the Tallahassee City Commission on July 8, 2015.
If you have any questions or comments on the updated Plan or the Program, please contact:
Stephen M. Hodges, AICP
Tallahassee - Leon County Planning Department
435 N. Macomb Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301