Tallahassee-Leon Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency cuts the ribbon on Debbie Lightsey Nature Park

by Rhea Le

The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency led Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting at the Debbie Lightsey Nature Park, along with Leon County and the city of Tallahassee. It’s the latest addition in Blueprint’s plans to connect neighborhoods in southwest Tallahassee to parks, greenways and the Apalachicola National Forest.

The Debbie Lightsey Nature Park is 113 acres of gorgeous. It’s got 1.3 miles of trails, a butterfly garden and two elevated boardwalks with sweeping views of the wetlands. It’s got herons, egrets, storks, ospreys and cypress, red maple and black gum trees.

It’s named for former Tallahassee mayor Debbie Lightsey, a passionate environmentalist. Lightsey says the original vision of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency was projects just like this.

“But it was citizens who brought this and representatives – truly – of the two different camps in the community that you often used to see, the business community and the environmental group,” she said. “They came together, put this together, and brought it to government. And we supported it and now you have seen results like the Debbie Lightsey Nature Park, Cascades Park, so many beautiful trails in the community…”

The Nature Park also has a playground and picnic areas. Construction of a single-track mountain bike path is expected to begin by the end of the year.

Lately Blueprint has faced controversy over some of its projects, such as the repairs to Doak Campbell Stadium last year and the $1.8 million for SOMO Walls on South Monroe Street last month.

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