After considering options like a sound wall or housing for people with special needs, Tallahassee commissioners are considering a proposal for Myers Park brought to them by the people who live there.
The Friends of Parks and Recreation is a group of neighbors who came together in opposition of the plans that would have rezoned a part of Myers Park that includes the parks and rec building. Instead, the neighbors have worked together to create their own solutions. Greg Youchock helped present the group’s five phase proposal to Tallahassee commission members.
“So what we’re advocating for is that in this phase that this asphalt and concrete be removed. That the area be graded out and that you would then have a level—literally a level playing field—for children and families to take advantage of. I think it’s very important that this area be considered a family friendly parcel and this parcel does lend itself to that,” Youchock said.
Other phases of the plan include adding a bike path, clearing brush to create a better view looking down toward Cascades and using some of the parks office as a space for various activities. It’s a plan commissioners like Nancy Miller said they support.
“We have not enough space for arts and crafts. Our senior center space, that alone, you can just hardly find a parking space over there. So there are a lot of opportunities here in the buildings and that is something we can always be working on. No need to wait for any of that,” Miller said.
But Commissioner Scott Maddox said he wants to ensure that if any work is done in that area, that it will also serve to appease citizens who have raised concerns about increased noise coming from Cascades Park.
“I want to make sure it’s all tied together. Let’s have whatever discussion there’s going to be about a wall or no wall—anything else that’s going to happen in that area, anything else around Cascades Park. And have everybody come together and have an agreement—okay we’re happy with where we’re going. I don’t want to do piece meal, where we do a piece here and come back and something wasn’t right and there’s contention. So I’m hoping we can wrap it all up,” Maddox said.
And Mayor Andrew Gillum agreed any discussion on what’s next for Myers Park should include an understanding that this the step the city is taking to respond to the many concerns residents in the Myers Park neighborhood have raised. But he says he’s also concerned about jumping into a project in Myers Park without first considering the needs of other neighborhoods. He says other neighborhoods are facing pressure from development too.
“We’re talking about uncovered ditches where kids are walking to school juggling between a car and falling in the ditch. We’ve got really sort of obscene intrusion in certain areas where those neighborhoods would want some relief as well. So my issue is a process one,” Gillum said
Gillum proposed creating a pot of money to use for neighborhood projects and then allowing residents to pitch their ideas. But others felt they’d already moved forward with Myers Park. Commissioners voted to get a cost estimate for a number of the proposed Myers Park changes and discuss possible funding options for the plan at a future meeting.