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Push for Northeast Park continues, people writing to city in support

Posted at 7:19 PM, May 15, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Commissioner Brian Welch is urging people living in northeast Leon County to voice their support for the proposed Northeast Park.

Leaders on the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency chose to postpone a vote on the idea. Commissioners tabling the project sparked debate online, with many supporting the project and Commissioner Welch.

Welch getting support from people like Pop Warner Coach Mike Wallace. He said young athletes in the northeast are displaced and no longer participating in as high of numbers in youth athletics.

"Annually, anywhere from three to eight thousand from the football, cheer and dance program have to pay to rent facilities to have a program, so that has impacted our families," Wallace said. "We have seen a decline because of the inconvenience. "

Wallace said many of his players need a new park to call their own. He said the 50-acre Northeast Park, proposed for south of Roberts Elementary and adjacent to Centerville Road, is the answer.

It's also why Leon County Commissioner Brian Welch asking people to write in to the City of Tallahassee.

"People up here realize they pay a lot of taxes and yet we sit here with no baseball fields, no football fields, no swimming pools in northeast Tallahassee," Welch said.

He's sending a message about that need after the ideas was tabled at a recent Blueprint meeting.

"We don't get the quality of life infrastructure that other parts of the community get," Welch said.

Research from a meeting about the project in March shows 53% of the 47 people who submitted comments said they were in support of the park. 30% mentioned wanting access to skate sports facilities and only 17% raised concerns about the park's impact on traffic and the environment.

But, the park price tag of $22 million is what is really raising eyebrows.

While Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said he wants to give the kids a park, we also wants to see the cost come down.

"We have asked staff to come back and show us what is the cost of construction and labor, what are the increases since the ten million dollars was approved last September and what is the additional millions of dollars that are in this project going to be used for," Dailey said. "I think these are very reasonable questions."

However, Wallace said giving the community a park is worth the price that he says increased due to inflation.

"Sit down and let's figure out one, is this realistic, is this the price, can we do better.?" Wallace said. "That's where the rubber meets the road."

City and county commissioners will meet on June 15 to discuss the budget further.