Where are the Northside Community Centers?

Where are the Northside Community Centers?

If you live in the Northeast part of town, past Interstate 10 (I-10), you are in a part of town that is responsible for a large share of City property taxes and City electric rates.

In other words, you are a major financial supporter of City services.

However, if you live in this part of town and you sign your daughter up for City of Tallahassee sports, such as volleyball or basketball, be prepared to drive.

Why? Because there are no City of Tallahassee community centers north of I-10.

In fact, the closest City maintained community center for City taxpayers that live in Summerbrooke, Ox Bottom Manor or Killearn Estates is the Sue McCollum Community Center, located in Lafayette Park.

TR has been told by a number of parents who reside north of I-1o, that volleyball participation requires travel as far as Jack McLean Community Center which is located on Paul Russel Road near the North Florida Fairgrounds. This is also true of other activities offered by the City of Tallahassee which are funded through property taxes and a portion of the City’s electric rates.

The City of Tallahassee website shows that there are eleven(11) community centers located in Tallahassee and not one community center is located north of Tharpe Street.

And it is not just athletics that is provided at these centers. From the Talgov website:

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs operates many community centers throughout the City. Each of these centers offers a wide array of daily activities for youth and adults, from athletics to homework to cooking.

One of the wide array of activities includes after school programs that could be of use to parents that live in Northside neighborhoods. For example the Lincoln Center, in Frenchtown, offers “homework assistance and one-on-one tutoring for community youth ages 6 to 14 in the areas of math, science, reading and language arts in addition to FCAT preparation (Monday through Friday – 3:00 to 5:30pm).”

These services are provided at a low cost, about a dollar a day, and sometimes free for people who have access to the centers.

For example, the Jack McClean Community Center – located near the fairgrounds – offers a computer lab, foosball, ping-pong, and dodge ball as activities available to elementary, middle and high school students from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at no charge.

City Response

TR reached out to the City of Tallahassee and was told that the City recognizes the problem but there are no immediate plans to address the issue. The City staff did point out that a community center is being considered within the proposed Welaunee development between Centerville Road and Miccousukee Road. The exact location has not been determined.

The last community center built was the Jack McClean Community Center in 2008. A a description of the facility is listed below:

The 20,386 square foot recreation center includes a large air conditioned gymnasium, a weight room and multi-purpose rooms that will be used for meetings, classes, and teen activities. The aquatics complex features a beach-like zero depth entry pool with in-pool play equipment and a 22-foot high water slide, along with a 25 yard, 8-lane pool for lap swimming, water aerobics, swim lessons, and open swimming. The 3,949 square foot bathhouse provides shower facilities, office space and a lifeguard control area. This facility was dedicated November 3, 2004, and is the first full project completed with the City’s 10 percent share of revenue generated by the citizen-approved Blueprint 2000 sales tax extension fund.

Even though demographic data shows a shift in population to the Northeast part of town, it appears a number of City of Tallahassee taxpayers will continue to subsidize community centers which are difficult, if not impossible, for them to use.

12 Responses to "Where are the Northside Community Centers?"

  1. I don’t have a problem with how our community centers came to be in the past. Its not always logical but Tally was relatively small until the mid-80’s and most of the population was within the truck route, except Killearn and Killearn Lakes.

    But it’s time to put several centers in the areas north of the truck route and out Mahan, Miccosukee, Centerville, Killearn, and Thomasville Roads. I’m sure the populations there will use and support these and they will add a real quality of life to the area.

  2. Wildwood Church has purchased land and is in the process of building The Northside Community Center. Please check Wildwood Church facebook for info and links. We are holding our 5th annual Northside Easter BBQ at the property at 8018 Oak Grove Road this weekend March26th 11am!

  3. I recently attended a Southwood CDD meeting on the topic of building a new park on the city owned land across from Florida High. Our CDD fees, around 2 million would go towards building the park. This plan is in preliminary discussions with COT. If you are not a paying the CDD fee, there would be a large fee for you to use the park. The COT has no plans to build anything any time in the future. Southwood CDD decided not to wait.

  4. I think the Bradfordville area should secede from COT and become its own entity. That would have an interesting budgetary impact.

  5. Years ago a trend began where outlying suburbs in the Atlanta area began to secede from Atlanta and form their own cities, due to systemic corruption and long-ingrained problems in Atlanta city government:

    World Net Daily – Published: 03/10/2013

    “As a result of the unsavory politics in urban Atlanta, northern suburban communities acted to distance themselves. Beginning in 2005, many communities began the process of incorporating into cities. These cities, after breaking away politically from urban Atlanta, have become so successful that a libertarian think tank, the Reason Foundation, has featured Sandy Springs as a model of effective government. The Economist has also applauded the northern Atlanta cities for solving the problem of unfunded government pension liability and avoiding the bankruptcy that looms over some urban areas. The new cities may soon be able to create their own school districts, which would free them even further from the issues besetting Atlanta.”

    Sound familiar?
    As a ten-year resident of the NE Tallahassee area, give us a few years and let’s see what happens.

  6. Same oh same oh ! Southside gets the projects and the northeast side pays for them. The only way this will change is to vote some of these public officials out of their comfy slop at the public trough jobs and put some folks in office that truly have the interests of ALL taxpayers at heart. By allocating funds for public projects such as communnity centers, from taxes paid in the section of town where they are to be built, would go a long way in solving the problem. If you get it, you pay for it! “Taint rocket science, folks !!

  7. “Even though demographic data shows a shift in population to the Northeast part of town, it appears a number of City of Tallahassee taxpayers will continue to subsidize community centers which are difficult, if not impossible, for them to use.”

    And the last center was built 8 years ago. The population “shift” began long before that. So this is a new problem? How much sidewalk access does the north side have in their neighborhoods compared to the south side. There’s part of the problem.

    Next would be deciding on locations, either new acquisitions or add ins to existing parks. And the cost of the investment and ongoing operations, areas that are highly sensitive (and should be) to those involved.

    Once built, provide better access (bus fare validation?) for all users to all areas. The existing centers are not “difficult, if not impossible,… to use”, they’re not easily accessed. That way all the new north side facilities can be accessed by central and south side residents, and conversely.

  8. This article brought tears flowing from my eyes…. I hope the next article is about what the City affords the north side and not the south side…. Like the Randy T. Swimming Gym, now that cost a pretty penny…. What about soccer field on meridian road…. Oh hey what about Tom Brown Park?? My point is…. When the City does build something on the north side…. They do it TRUMP style.

  9. i think for the most part this is accurate. However, I think u have to recognize the Forest Meadows tennis center, the only clay courts, which I travel from the Buck Lake area to use. The soccer complex at Miller Landing which I traveled to for 8 yrs when I coached soccer, and the Meridan Park baseball complex which we used for fall ball and softball. Maybe a center can be built at aj henry park. Incidently, kids using lafayette park can go to an after school programfor free while I paid almost $2000 a year for 6 yrs for 2 kids at Buck Lake afterschool.

  10. I was under the impression that land had been purchased for a park near Kohls on Thomasville Rd. Will it have a community center? We do need something out north of town.

  11. Redistribution of wealth.
    Bought to you by the politicians you voted for.
    Tallahasseans should not be the least bit surprised at this.

    A few stories about roving gangs selling drugs and stealing cars on Killearney Way and poof, a diversionary, I mean community center would get built there too.

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