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Leon County Commissioner Christian Caban sends letter critical of Commissioner Brian Welch

a baseball field from above
Coaches, players and fans want a park in Northeast Leon

Leon County Commissioner Christian Caban has sent a critical letter directed at his colleague, Commissioner Brian Welch. It follows a contentious meeting of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency earlier this month.

Caban objects to Welch’s advocacy for a park for the northeast part of the county, which Welch represents.

Copies of the letter were sent to all the city and county commissioners, who together form the Blueprint board.

Caban takes issue with Welch’s claim that children in his district must travel 45 minutes to get to a park. He writes, “Children in my district aren’t worried about long car rides to baseball practice, they are worried about long, dangerous walks to bus stops alongside busy roads with no sidewalks or lighting.”  

Here's Welch:

“I think it’s just sad that we have now gotten into a conversation where we are somehow pitting one side of town versus another side of town,” Welch said, “when the reality is all sides of town have needs, those needs are different.”  

Caban says he supports building a park in Northeast Leon but doesn’t support the $18 million that was recommended for it.

“And when we’re using taxpayer dollars, I think our focus should be necessities first," Caban said. "I personally have a hard time over-funding a project when people in my district in Woodville don’t have access to sewage. And they’ve been waiting for years.”

Caban says he’ll support the Northeast Park at its earlier estimate of $12 million dollars. But he considers it an amenity, not a necessity.

Welch says he shares Caban’s concern about infrastructure disparities but says different parts of the county have different needs.

The Blueprint board has directed the staff to review the cost and scope of the park before Blueprint meets again on June 15th.

Updated: May 24, 2023 at 5:01 PM EDT
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Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.