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.
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.