Providence, a southwest Tallahassee neighborhood, is the second neighborhood to participate in the City's Community Neighborhood Renaissance Program, a neighborhood planning program staffed by the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, and operated in conjunction with the Community Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership. Providence is approximately 125 acres in size with 890 dwelling units and a population of 1423. The neighborhood is located off Lake Bradford Road and is bounded by the CSX Railroad lines on the north, Hutchinson Avenue and FSU's Alumni Village on the south, Iamonia Street on the west and Lake Bradford Road on the east. The neighborhood lies within an earshot from Florida State University, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, FAMU/FSU School of Engineering, FSU's Alumni Village and Innovation Park.
The population of the neighborhood is predominantly black with African-Americans comprising 87%. The residents of the neighborhood are relatively young. Approximately 59% of the population are children and young adults under the age of 24. College students account for 33% of the neighborhood's population. Thirty-five percent (35)% of the households in the neighborhood are families and 66% of the families with children are single-parent households. The median family and household incomes for the neighborhood are $10,971 and $14,280, respectively, well below the median family and household incomes for the City of Tallahassee, $23,453 and $34,764, respectively.
The unemployment rate in the neighborhood is 20% versus 6% for the City of Tallahassee. The percent of persons living in this neighborhood below the poverty line is twice that of the City while the percentage of families living below the poverty line is almost three times that of the City. Only 7% of the residents in the neighborhood are homeowners, which means that 93% of the residences in the neighborhood are held for rental purposes. Contributing to the low homeownership rate is the fact that the predominant housing type in the neighborhood is multi-family apartment complexes. The conditions of the homes in the neighborhood range from well-kept homes to abandoned, boarded-up and vacant homes.
Providence Neighborhood is zoned Central Urban. The Central Urban district allows for a mixture of uses and does not necessarily lead to the preservation of residential areas. The uses along the eastern boundary (Lake Bradford Road) are commercial retail uses, including convenience stores with gas pumps, personal services (barber shops, etc.), uniform laundry business, and automotive related uses. There are 14 businesses within the boundaries of the neighborhood. Other uses in the neighborhood include three churches and recently, the office for Mothers In Crisis, a non-profit organization.
The neighborhood has an active neighborhood association that meets on the third Monday of each month at the Providence Baptist Church located at 1901Hillsborough Street. The association is made up of homeowners, renters, property owners, and college students. The leaders and members of the neighborhood association are committed to implementing the Neighborhood Renaissance Program in the Providence Neighborhood.
The Providence Neighborhood Renaissance Process
Phase I of the Neighborhood Renaissance Program started in the Providence neighborhood in September 2002. In Phase I, efforts were focused primarily on identifying and understanding the needs of the neighborhood, meeting with neighborhood stakeholders, as well as completing a physical assessment of the neighborhood. A community assessment, which took the form of a neighborhood survey, was conducted by FSU's Department of Urban & Regional Planning. Staff, neighborhood residents and students from Florida State University later conducted a physical assessment of the neighborhood's infrastructure and housing conditions. From these exercises, data was obtained on community issues and needs, existing land uses, the presence and/or absence of community facilities and services, roadway conditions, housing conditions, and areas of challenge and opportunities.
During this phase of the process, staff convened several meetings with neighborhood residents and various neighborhood stakeholders to discuss the Neighborhood Renaissance Program. The objectives of these meetings were to develop a shared vision for the Renaissance Planning process, clarify the role of each stakeholder, seek consensus on the planning process and agree on how the process would be coordinated and how communications would be maintained.
On March 22, 2003, the second phase of the process, plan development, was kicked-off with a workshop entitled "Community Issues and Options Workshop". At the workshop, staff presented the results of the community assessment survey to neighborhood residents and stakeholders. Participants at the workshop were asked to identify the issues affecting the neighborhood. Several issues were identified. The Providence Neighborhood Steering Committee, a group of residents and interested stakeholders who were selected by the neighborhood association to lead the plan development process on behalf of the neighborhood, were assigned the task of refining the issues and developing a plan to address them. The Steering Committee organized itself into two action teams to address the issues: Housing/Crime Action Team and the Community Improvement Action Team. The action teams held several meetings between March and August 2003, to discuss the issues, to hear from experts on the issues, as well as city and county staff, non-profit community organizations, and residents of the neighborhood. In August 2003, another community workshop (Community Consensus Workshop) was held to update and to receive input from neighborhood residents and stakeholders on the solutions and implementing tasks the Steering Committee had identified to address the concerns and issues of the neighborhood. The plan was revised based on the comments received at the workshop and was then presented to the Providence Neighborhood Association for adoption.
The first step in the plan adoption phase was the adoption of the plan by the Providence Neighborhood Association. The plan was presented to the neighborhood at the October 2003 neighborhood association meeting and was adopted unanimously by the association. The plan was presented to the Community Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership Board of Directors for adoption at its November 2003 meeting. The Board adopted the plan and recommended that the plan be transmitted to City of Tallahassee, Leon County and Leon County School Board for adoption. On December 14, 2003, the Tallahassee City Commission adopted the plan after a brief presentation by neighborhood residents. In January 2004, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners also adopted the plan. The plan was adopted by the Leon County School Board on March 9, 2004
Providence Neighborhood Priority Issue Areas
- Neighborhood Center
- Neighborhood Cleanup / Neighborhood Safety
The Providence Neighborhood Renaissance Plan was written by neighborhood residents for the neighborhood. The plan addresses 14 issues grouped under five major themes:
- Getting Everyone Involved:
- Neighborhood Involvement/Outreach
- Neighborhood Pride
- Keeping the Neighborhood Safe and Clean
- Neighborhood Cleanup
- Neighborhood Safety
- Taking Care of our People
- Neighborhood Center
- Human Development
- Landlord/Tenant Issues
- We Must Own our Neighborhood
- Neighborhood Ownership
- Housing Rehabilitation (owner-occupied)
- Housing Rehabilitation (rental housing)
- A Face for the Future
Download a copy of the plan (PDF)