Photo:Kevin Graham, center, goes over expansion plans with FSU Associate General Counsel Dustin Dailey, left, and FSU Vice President for University Advancement Tom Jennings.
Northwest Florida Roundup
Connections: FSU taps into a $79-million infrastructure plan
FSU is backing a big community infrastructure project.
Florida State University has signed on to a plan to create more attractive and accessible roadways between Tallahassee International Airport, the school’s southwest campus and downtown Tallahassee.
Kevin Graham, executive director of FSU’s Real Estate Foundation, proposed merging the Airport Gateway plan — a project of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, composed of Leon County and city commissioners — with the university’s plans to further develop its 900-acre southwest campus, which lies midway between the downtown core and the airport.
“The idea was to work collaboratively with Blueprint and expand the Airport Gateway plan to include additional infrastructure improvements that route from our main 475-acre campus to the southwest campus,” says Graham.
As a result of the FSU-Blueprint partnership, the new plan — now called the Gateway District project — focuses on developing multiple traffic routes from downtown to the airport.
“We’re now looking at the whole southwest Tallahassee area as our Gateway District, and we think it’s going to bring a pretty exciting level of economic development to that area,” says Autumn Calder, planning manager for the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.
The expanded Gateway District, one of 27 projects approved by Leon County voters, is estimated to cost $78.8 million. Blueprint’s share, derived from local option sales tax revenue, totals $57.8 million. The remaining money will come from FSU’s contribution of about $12 million in rights of way within its southwest campus and $2 million in cash, along with additional anticipated funding from the Florida Department of Transportation.