Brian Zettle Photo

Catalyst Interview Series: Brian Zettle

Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you get involved with KCCI?

Brian Zettle (BZ): I had a personal desire to serve our community, learn more about the assets Tallahassee possesses and to connect with a group of community volunteers interested in maximizing Tallahassee’s potential. This led me to apply to be a KCCI Catalyst.


KCCI: What was the mission behind Cultivate Cascades?

BZ: Cultivate Cascades was developed to answer the question: how do we maximize the potential of Cascades Park to benefit the greatest number of Tallahassee residents and make sure it serves as a place of connectivity? We recognized an incredible entertainment and recreational space was being constructed in downtown Tallahassee without consideration for how the public could potentially use the space, and we wanted to change that.


KCCI: More than 1,500 hours were spent conducting research for this project – can you tell me a little about what that process was like?

BZ: The research was a group effort, and the diversity of our group was our greatest asset. We began by identifying and interviewing key stakeholders such as Cascades Park’s owners, operators, vendors, users and neighbors. We also launched an online survey with thousands of respondents from the Tallahassee area. The results of the survey and our recommendations for best management practices were published and presented to the City of Tallahassee Commission, the Leon County Commission and the Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency.


KCCI: For those who haven’t visited the park yet, what does Cascades have to offer?

BZ: Cascades Park has something for everyone. There are miles of jogging and walking trails, an amphitheater for performances, water fountains, the Discovery play area and much more. If you like peaceful surroundings, you can read a book or meditate while enjoying the sounds of the waterfall. If you like history, visit the Smokey Hollow, Centennial Park and Korean War memorials. The uses for Cascades Park are limitless.


KCCI: What did you learn from this project?

BZ: The greatest take away for me as a KCCI Catalyst and member of the Cultivate Cascades team is that an organized group of community volunteers can affect real, positive change. No one member of our team could have accomplished what we did as a group.


KCCI: What are some of your favorite spots in Tallahassee?

BZ: I love to be in the woods, on the water, or enjoying the outdoors of North Florida with family and friends.  In addition, areas like Midtown, Downtown, and College Town offer experiences, entertainment, and dining unique to Tallahassee.


KCCI: Who should consider becoming a Catalyst?

BZ: Anyone that is interested in increasing the quality of life for themselves, their families, and the citizens of Tallahassee and Leon County.  Without community volunteers pushing for the best use of our time, talent and resources, Tallahassee will never reach it’s true potential.