On May 11th, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency (IA) voted to delay a decision on the Northeast Park project after concerns were voiced about the $18 million cost and the scope of the project.
The cost of the park was originally estimated to be $12 million, however, as with a host of other Blueprint projects, construction costs have increased given the recent national economic conditions.
The Northeast Park – which has been in the works for over 15 years – was detailed in the agenda as an $18 million project located on a 50 acre parcel near Roberts Elementary School and adjacent to Centerville Road.
The item was considered following a Blueprint IA budget workshop which took place earlier in the day and featured a contentious debate related to increased cost estimates for a host of Blueprint projects.
After the budget workshop, the Blueprint IA held a meeting to address other issues including the Northeast park.
After making a motion to move forward with the staff recommendation, Leon County District 4 Commissioner Brian Welch made an impassioned plea for support from his colleagues.
An important part of the Welch motion removed consideration of a controversial connecting road between Centerville Road and Welaunee Blvd. The Killearn Homeowners Association recently spoke out against the construction of a connecting road.
After Welch’s comments, the elected officials began a discussion about the project, which focused on the scope and the $18 million cost of the park.
City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox and Mayor Dailey criticized the cost of the Northeast park, noting the recent construction of a 50 acre park in Southwood that cost the City of Tallahassee approximately $4 million.
In addition, Dailey argued that the park was created to facilitate travel baseball tournaments which he said was not appropriate for a neighborhood park that would be located on a two-lane canopy road. He also said he was not sure the scope of the park matched the desires of the surrounding neighborhoods.
During the debate, Dailey, as did other elected officials, made it clear he supported a Northeast park.
Commissioner Welch pushed back against Dailey’s argument that the project was a “regional park” designed to facilitate sports tourism. Welch noted that the staff and consultants hired by Blueprint designed an “area park.” He also added that the proposed park was almost identical to the City park in Southwood.
After the discussion among elected officials, Commissioner Bill Proctor made a substitute motion that would cap the cost of the project at $12 million and delay action on the park until June 15th. The motion failed with only Mayor John Dailey, City Commissioner Dianne William-Cox and Leon County Commissioner Proctor voting for the measure.
However, the original motion to move forward with the $18 million cost and the original scope of the park also failed when put to a vote. Mayor John Dailey, City Commissioner Dianne William-Cox, City Commissioner Jack Porter, Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor and Leon County Commissioner Carolyn Cummings voted against moving forward with the original staff recommendation.
The final vote on the project – which passed – delayed action on the park until June 15th and requested that Blueprint staff bring back various options related to the scope and cost of the project – there were no parameters put on the cost of the project..
The final vote also removed consideration of the controversial connecting road between Centerville Road and Welaunee Blvd.
The issue is scheduled to be included on the June 15th Blueprint IA agenda.
You can not compare the Northeast park and Fouroaks park. Northeast park will have a lot more amenities ( concession stand, community center, dedicated baseball/softball fields, soccer field, maintenance building, batting cages, bullpens, and major difference field lighting).
Four oaks park was 80% built in house with city crews and only about 25 arces out of the 42 are developed.
This is in no way a travel ball park. It is an area park that will host Little League Baseball/Softball, and Pop Warner football. All of these are local leagues. It is possible that it would host a little league tournament like any other little league park. I would love to see it host a local tournament….just as some city/county facilities have done before. By contrast, Meadows has 10 soccer fields…this park will have 3? At most?
Messer hosts regional travel ball tournaments and they have 9 fields….and those are considered small tournaments. This will have only 4!
There will be no traffic even close to Meridian traffic during a soccer tournament…it could never have that many teams at once.
Anyone that believes this is playing into the Mayor’s hands and fear tactics. He wants this to be a city park with city programming….I for one, want this to remain a County Park with options that differ from city programming.
His words were misleading, and they were on purpose. The fact he released a statement tells me his office is feeling the heat. Please do not fall for his theatrics.
Cynic is spot on. The Meadows, is a sports complex and a traffic nightmare, not a park. I live across the street from this new proposed park and was initially excited about this proposal going through. However, this was sold as a park, not a sports complex and the impact to Killearn and the Canopy roads will be a disaster. Lake Alford should be the model for a family friendly park. Thanks to TR, I now plan on letting Killearn HOA and Brian Welch know my feelings. Thanks TR!
Friends interested in the Northeast Park Initiative, allow me to share a statement from The Office of The Mayor which provides context, clarifies the position of many on the BluePrint Board, and challenges the “misinformation” campaign on social media.
From Mayor John Dailey:
We are going to build an incredible Northeast Park. The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board is in favor of the park, I’m in favor of the park, and most importantly, the citizens of Leon County approved a Northeast Park as part of the 27 infrastructure projects placed on referendum.
At the last Blueprint meeting, we decided that we need to discuss the details of the park to make sure it fully meets the needs of the area neighborhoods. I am confident that we have time to do so and that the park will be fantastic. We will be meeting in June.
The question at hand is not whether we will build the park, we will. We all support it. Moving from an approved budget of $10 million to a proposed budget of $22 million in eight months is worth discussing.
We owe it to the community to be fiscally responsible while also including the park elements that the area neighborhoods want.
If we can build an area park for less than $3 million dollars, I believe the $10 million currently budgeted may be sufficient. Of course, I will keep an open mind during the discussion in June.
I look forward to the ribbon cutting of the new Northeast Park!
It pains me to agree with Dailey. This is a horrible location to promote sports tourism for travel ball on canopy roads.
Am I wrong in assuming the Meadows is a northeast park? Having a child who has played travel soccer for over a decade at this facility have you all not seen the crushing traffic getting in and out of the Meadows Soccer Complex onto Meridian, a canopy road, whenever there are practices and games? Have any of these politicians seen the sorry state of the Meadows Soccer Complex? Have they not seen the horrible dustbowl, washed out, mud bowl parking lots? The horrible drainage. The flooding. The torn nets. The torn-up fields.
18 million dollars is outrageous when that money could be used to fix and repair our existing parks. I’m not opposed to this location for a park but NOT for travel ball tourism when we already have huge amounts of baseball diamonds located throughout the city/county. But we only have one realistic location for the number one youth sport in the nation, soccer. One of our soccer clubs has to use Morningside Baptist Church’s fields for rec soccer simply because it’s a better location for families and there are no decent soccer facilities nearby. Why don’t these politicians consult the folks who built the private/not for profit Northside Community Center? It’s a beautiful facility. How much did that cost?
I’m fine with promoting sports tourism like what was done for cross country on Apalachee Parkway. However, any fields need to be located along major roadways for easy access. Having traveled to other municipal run soccer complexes throughout the south for over a decade, I can attest that Tallahassee’s soccer facilities are horrible.
Stop wasting taxpayer’s money on new infrastructure in new parks and start investing in upgrading and upkeep of existing parks. Put a park at that location and just make it a greenway like the JR Alford Greenway off Pedrick with nature trails and call it a day. Fix our existing parks and especially our sorry soccer facilities.
Who in their right mind thinks 4 fields would be considered a “Travel Ball” facility? This is a complete and utter joke!
Don’t gripe about Dailey and Goad if you voted for Dailey.
Bundled contributions into political campaigns drive engineering decisions growth management, aesthetics, design, developments and they are compromising all so the developers have more money in their pockets to dole out through their multiple corporations to the entrenched candidates and we have a hodgepodge of a mess. We are in a rut and the only traction we are making is backwards. Mayor Dailey and the city manager seem to be driving this crazy train.
@ Carol = The Northeast doesn’t have a Park like that. The closest would be Tom Brown Park, than Appalachee Regional Park, then Fred George Park and the one at Jackson Bluff at Apple Yard.
Why isn’t another area of town considered for a park that will host travel ball tournaments? Let’s bring some dollars from tourists, ball players, etc. to other parts of Tallahassee. If those areas are supposed to be nice enough for residents, they should be considered nice enough for visitors. If not, fix those areas up, so money can be brought into those areas from visitors and give residents pride in where they live. The northeast side has enough for their share.
Let’s not forget where most of the taxpayer dollars come from in this town. If this was proposed as a new park on the South side, everyone would have been clamoring to take credit for it. This town needs updated facilities, I am embarrassed by our lack of facilities. All you have to do is travel to Panama City to the west to see beautiful new parks and facilities or go the metropolis of Perry to the east and see their new facilities. The priorities in this town are really messed up, let’s keep throwing tax payer dollars at programs with no accountability, CSC or millions more to fund a police department that has not performed with the 31+ million they have already received. At least a park is something tangible the tax paying public can enjoy.
The same people that spent $5,000,000.00 of taxpayer money to build a foot bridge over South Monroe Street are in charge of this new project, too. Do you really expect any form of sanity to creep in???
A $6Million Jump is crazy. But then, so is $12Million. But then again, so is $27Million for 21 VIP Seating.
STOP Over Designing, STOP Over Budgeting and STOP Over Spending.
If its identical, why does it cost 14 million dollars more? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.
John Dailey is not a smart man