Stewart: Northeast Park Amenities Do Not Reflect Community Needs

Stewart: Northeast Park Amenities Do Not Reflect Community Needs

The continuing saga related to the future of the Northeast Park will be front and center again on June 15th, as the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency will meet and consider different park options.

The park has fallen victim to questions about cost, equity, amenities, park access and yes, to politics.

As a long time resident of Killearn Estates – living less than a mile from the proposed location – I have a heightened interest in the park and I am concerned about the proposed park amenities.

In my view, the park amenities – included in the original proposal – are too focused on baseball. The design includes four high school size baseball fields with light fixtures.

Most of the non-baseball amenities in the original proposal – sand volleyball, pickleball, & a basketball court – appear to have been added without much thought, located next to each other with no dedicated parking and little room for expansion.

And this will not change with the new options proposed ahead of the June 15th meeting. The new options proposed deal mostly with the baseball options – substract two fields or subtract three fields. The new options do not address other park amenities

In addition, Leon County Commissioner Brain Welch, who represents District 4 (Northeast Tallahassee) where the park will be located, has aggressively pushed for the adoption of the original baseball focused design.

Welch has shown little interest in addressing any concerns related to the configuration of the amenities outside of baseball.

More Amenities, Different Configuration

I believe current sports trends indicate that the park proposals do not effectively meet the activity needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. If I was the “Park Czar”, I would propose 2 baseball fields, a football field, a sports court, 5 sand volleyball courts, 6-8 pickleball courts, 2 tennis courts and a large green space.

In addition, I would make sure the amenities were laid out in a way to facilitate dedicated parking for each activity and to allow for expansion depending on interest and future needs.

This configuration would provide more opportunities for families to take advantage of a host of activities at the park, while providing sports fields for organize teams related to baseball, football and soccer.

What’ Next

After the politicians and the professional staff deal with the politics, costs, and the operations of the park, I think there should be a new effort to determine the most desired mix of amenities for the park.

Where do neighborhood associations stand on park amenities?

How about the students at Roberts Elementary and Montford Middle School? What sports do they play?

For adults, what are the most popular sport activities in city parks? Wouldn’t that be a good indicator of activity trends?

What is the demand for organized team sports?

These are questions that deserve answers before moving forward.

One Last Thing

The Northeast Park is a Blueprint project on land owned by Leon County located within the Tallahassee city limits. This is a recipe for grid lock.

A successful outcome will require compromise related to the “rural park” and “urban park” models preferred by the two government entities (Leon County & City Commission) that constitute the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.

This park will serve rural areas in the county and neighborhoods within the city limits, the park operations and the park amenities should reflect this reality.

10 Responses to "Stewart: Northeast Park Amenities Do Not Reflect Community Needs"

  1. Face it. BluePrint does not care what taxpayers think or want or need. Graft, cronyism, and service to self.

    You may not have been at the early hard sell to Leon County voters to approve a penny sales tax increase to fund blueprint. There were NO details on what they were going to spend your money on.

    The early meeting were organized and hosted under the temporary organization called Vision Tallahassee, or envision tallahassee. Many of those involved in that hard sell managed to purchase land after privately seeing where these projects were going to be located.

    Who was leading the charge? Wait for it……someone who is currently in federal prison…..someone caught in an FBI sting, convicted, and given a gracious sentence. Yup, J.T. Burnette.

  2. 22 million for baseball fields is simply too much. Go get another bid! Building and material prices have come down, not up, since the number was locked in at 12 Million.

    Stop saying it’s fully funded at 22 million or whatever. Being protective of our money! Make it stretch, don’t throw it away.

    Commissioners should be looking to come in UNDER budget for everything. Not just easily waiving their hands at insane increases.

  3. Does anyone know why Blueprint paid so much more for their land than the adjoining property owned by Leon County? Blueprint property is 17.44 acres bought for $5,300,500 on 10/18/2022. Leon County property is 50 acres bought for $1,500,000 on 10/18/2022. Blueprint paid $303,000 per acre. Leon County paid $30,000 per acre. Even the Leon County price per acre seems ridiculous.

  4. Nothing the city or county does reflects community needs… 21 million for FSU, then 22 million for a baseball park, and then guess what? A property tax hike!

    There is not a more corrupt cabal of usual suspects than the one sucking up our good air in Leon County.

  5. Now do the rest of Blueprint! $800m in shady graft and expensive unnecessary Ghazvini roads taxpayers will go broke maintaining.

    And a piece against the Dailey-Richardson-Williams-Cox tax hike if we are throwing around opinions

  6. Absolutely no need for that unless it’s a state park. We all know the property values will drop by double digits of it’s an open access rec center. Therefore, whosoever push for this kick-back scheme projects shall take a hike. We aren’t paying to trash our community!

  7. If it HAS to be at that location then, I stand by my last comment on this: “Clear the Property like in Concept 1, put in 2 Baseball Fields, 2 Soccer Fields, 3 Pickle Ball Courts, 3 Sand Volleyball Courts, 2 Restroom Buildings on opposite ends of the Fields and the needed Scoreboards, Bleachers, etc. And design it where one Field is not on top of another so more than one sport can be played at a time.” I also believe it should be moved out Thomasville Road by or past Chiles High School.

  8. Where did BP and county staff come up with the original list and placement of park facilities? What basis on number of ballfields, etc?

    It seems staff just threw ideas on the wall to see what would stick and here we are in yet another controversy.

    And, now we have the chief BP instigator coming on board soon with the County. Is this a prelude to a new county administrator in the fiture with the current one heading to be the city manager when theirs retires?

    Oh what a web we weave when first we try to deceive

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