By Thomeya Jackson
The Tallahassee Police Department is accepting recommendations from the public for a site to locate the department’s new headquarters.
The call for proposals comes just weeks after the mayor and city commissioners voted against a proposed site for a Public Safety Campus on the city’s South Side.
The TPD is accepting suggestions for locations to build the new headquarters via an online form on the Talgov website. The deadline for proposing a site is April 18.
During two town hall meetings held last month, Tallahassee residents expressed their disapproval to Tallahassee’s mayor, city commissioners and police chief about the proposed location in the Towne South Shopping Center located on Monroe St. and Polk Dr.
“These meetings are scheduled to get your feedback. We want your feedback. We’re going to take it, and then decide the next steps,” said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey at the last town hall meeting held at the Walker Ford Community Center on February 19.
At the town hall meeting community residents expressed fears about what would happen to the people living in the area if the businesses in the shopping center left the area.
The concerns of the community were heard loud and clear. Mayor Pro Team Curtis Richardson spoke at the City Commission meeting the following day about abandoning the Towne South Shopping Center as a possible location for the new TPD headquarters.
“It appeared that the overwhelming sentiment was that there was not support for the law enforcement campus being located in the Towne South Shopping Center,” said Richardson at the City Commission meeting.
TPD’s new headquarters possibly moving to the South Side struck a nerve with many South Side residents, as well as others who live in different areas of the community, and students.
Some residents also believed that the Save-A-Lot grocery store possibly leaving the area would leave the people in the community in a bigger state of devastation, as the South Side is already viewed as a food desert by many.
“I would like to suggest that we abandon the Town South Shopping Center as a site for the law enforcement campus and direct the city manager to bring back to us to our next meeting a plan for the design and ultimate sites for consideration for the law enforcement campus,” said Richardson.
During the City Commission meeting, commissioners made it clear that they are seeking input from the community regarding the new location for the campus. After a potential plan is created by the construction, engineer and architect team, that plan will also be reviewed by the community before moving to the next stages.
According to the city’s website, all properties that are recommended will be judged on a variety of criteria that include the property having a minimum of 9 acres, access via various forms of transportation, proximity to other city facilities and functions, and the impact of redevelopment. “Preference will be given to sites located within approximately two miles of the City center,” according to Talgov.
The TPD, which has more than 400 officers and staff, wants the new headquarters to be a place where people in the community can come and get help and have access to special community services like “drug education for youth, a youth citizen’s police academy, and rape aggression defense courses for women and children.”
“This is a big project, and a transformative project. I think it is in line with what we’ve done in Cascade Park, Gaines Street — as a community what we’ve done on Blairstone Road. This will be a big deal for us,” said Dailey.