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Wakulla Commissioners to take up Community Center issue

Our Town Wakulla button
Posted at 5:38 PM, May 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-30 14:38:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--The Wakulla County Commissioners are trying to decide how the $1.4 million dollar community center will be used. The center was was built 3 years ago.

"That decision has gone back and forth and had some controversy," said Commissioner Ralph Thomas.

Commissioner Ralph Thomas says one option was to contract the center to the YMCA, but he wasn't on board with that decision.  He says taxpayers would still have to foot the bill paying for the upkeep if the company takes over. Builders are also working on a new gyn behind the center slated to be finished by September. The gym was funded by money from the state budget. The gym costs $650,000 to build.

Commissioner Thomas is offering an alternative plan he says would use the facility for programs like Wakulla's 21st Century lLearning center.

The center includes a number of project based learning activities like raising fish, gardening, and dance. Teachers also assist the children with homework and FCAT prep.

It's a program, coordinator Charlotte Cobb says has been successful and much needed to enhance learning.

It currently serves only 150 at-risk kids, with hundreds still on the waiting list.

"There's nothing worse than having to tell a parent that we have no space available," said Cobb.

Cobb says she receives call after call from parents wanting to enroll their children into the program, but the Baptist church they currently use is full to capacity.

The program is free to parents and funded by the state. The 21st Learning grant was provided by the Florida Department of Education. But Thomas says they just need somewhere to put the additional kids who need help.

"We've got an educational opportunity here to benefit our students and i just like to see us fully explore this and make sure we're doing the very best we can with the community center," said Thomas.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the issue on Monday during their board meeting.