By Joshua King
We were excited to read the recent Tallahassee Reports article, “Where are the Northside Community Centers?”. The reason for our excitement is because this need is already being addressed…not by the City, but by a church in the northside community, Wildwood Church.
As your article noted, there is currently no such center north of Tharpe St. So many families live in this area now, not to mention new housing developments that continue to bring families to the Northside. Even as early as 2004, our leaders began to consider how our church might serve our community. The original plan for the purchase of 60 acres north of Summerbrooke on N Meridian Rd was to build a larger church, but after careful deliberation and consultation with community organizations, they decided our church family should instead build what the people in our area needed most…a community center.
The initial stages of the project are nearly complete, including a new road, Oak Grove Rd, and pedestrian/bike path connecting entrances from N Meridian Rd and Bannerman Rd. The recreation fields will soon be grassed to be available in late summer.
The first building will be an 18,000 sq. ft. facility to feature basketball courts; classrooms; fitness spaces; a cafe, and several multipurpose spaces. Outside, there will be a large pavilion adjacent to the recreational fields; a dog park; walking trails; play areas; picnic areas, and more. The next phase includes a larger 40,000 sq. ft. addition to complete the Northside Community Center. Our church family will eventually relocate to the community center for worship on Sundays.
There are so many possibilities for community life with a facility such as this, including sports leagues; after-school programs, summer camps; and senior activities. Some programs will be fee-based, but many will be open activities for the community enjoy together.
We will also host community-wide events such as the annual Northside Easter BBQ, which will take place for the first time at the community center site the Saturday before Easter. Wildwood Church invites everyone to join us on March 26th, 11am-2pm, to see the new location firsthand and enjoy this free family event, including food (provided by Wildwood), live music, egg hunts for all ages, and many other activities for kids. The address is 8018 Oak Grove Rd.
We believe the Northside Community Center will be a place for community growth, connection, and engagement for all ages. Our desire is simply to serve the needs of the people around us in a meaningful way. We are honored to be part of such a vibrant and growing community in Tallahassee.
More information about the community center, including the most recent updates, can be found on our website at wildwoodchurchonline.org.
Joshua King is the Director of Communications