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UPDATED: Charlie and Tonja Ward Family Foundation working to bring recreational complex to SE Tallahassee

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 28, 2024

UPDATE JULY 4, 2024:

The rezoning applicant is the St. Joe Company with the Charlie and Tonja Ward Family Foundation as optionee, according to planning documents.

Documents also say, “the primary goal of the Charlie Ward Champions Ranch is to be the Big Bend's Premier Multi-Sport Training, Fitness, Wellness, Recovery, Community Center, Retreat Center, and Event Venue”.

The City Commission will hold the first and only public hearing on Ordinance 24-Z-28 for the Charlie Ward Champions Ranch PUD on August 21, 2024.

Charlie Ward, Jr. was known as a triple threat. He won the Heisman Trophy while playing football at Florida State, played 12 seasons in the NBA, and was even drafted in Major League Baseball.

Watch our story about his ties to our area below:

Charlie Ward, Jr. reflects on his childhood in Thomasville


  • Proposed plans for a new, massive sports and recreation complex are underway.
  • It is a 109.36 Acre facility to be located on Capital Circle SE.
  • A public hearing on the project will take place Tuesday, July 2.
  • Watch the video to hear why neighbors are excited over the plans.


Neighbors could soon see a new, massive sports and recreation complex in Southeast Tallahassee.

I'm neighborhood reporter Kenya Cardonne.

I'm digging into what's planned and how you can get involved.

As you drive along Capital Circle Southeast, picture a 109 acre, state-of-the-art sports and recreation complex.

It's a proposed plan that's currently in the works and has neighbors excited.

Ion Voltaire Sancho II, Neighbor - "I think it's revolutionary."

Mack McCabe, Neighbor - "Anything we can make better for the people and the town and the kids, I'm into."

Raul Rivera, Neighbor - "I implore anybody who could speed up the process."

I've reached out to the developer for details on the project, but they tell me they're not quite ready for public comment.

Public records indicate the facility will be located on Capital Circle SE, to the East of Woodville Highway. It will consist of three major components:

  • Conservation — which includes parks, walking trails and pavilions.
  • Mixed Use — meaning conference rooms, retail and a retreat center.
  • Recreation — which includes fields, courts, gymnasiums and a golf course.

Rivera - "It's very important to stay active, to be healthy, and it's a good way to be in the community, play with your friends and meet new friends too."

I found Raul Rivera and his friends having fun at another nearby recreational space.

They tell me neighborhood projects like these benefit the community in lots of ways.

Sancho - "I'm very involved with the community and being able to just play sports, it brings a lot of different age groups together, no matter your background."

Rivera - "Absolutely I think it's great, I think it's good! As a user of these facilities, the more facilities there are, the better."

A public hearing on the project is being held during the next Leon County Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd.

Click here to see the full details of the project.