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What’s Happening with the Myers Park Parcel?

Have you been wondering what’s going on with the Myers Park pacel? Will it stay park or be developed or both? While the wheel’s still in spin, here’s an update.

Overview

Many Betton Hills residents posted yard signs to support keeping the Myers Park parcel a park.  The BHNA asked that those signs be taken down while discussions regarding the parcel were being conducted.  We’re still in a wait-and-see mode.  Please keep your signs ready for reposting, if the need should arise.  Right now, the process to determine the appropriate use for the parcel with community input is working as it should. 

Background

Recently, the 9.7 acre parcel on the west end of Myers Park has been embroiled in controversy.  First, as a means of boosting downtown housing (and concurrently reducing the event noise from Cascades Park’s amphitheater into nearby neighborhoods), city planners proposed rezoning and selling the parcel to enable high-density development.  Nearby residents and neighborhoods throughout the city rose up to voice their opposition to selling parkland and assaulting the neighborhood character of Myers Park and Woodland Drives (the city’s only historical overlay area).

The Planning Commission agreed with the citizens and voted unanimously to reject the comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning the city planners proposed.  At a subsequent City Commission meeting, the commission voted to rescind the amendment.  Commissioner Ziffer indicated that a portion of the parcel may serve as a good site for a proposed residential and training center for adults with developmental disabilities under the auspices of a not-for-profit arm of Progressive Pediatrics.  Ziffer proposed that a committee of interested parties be formed to determine the most appropriate use of the parcel, whatever that may be.  The City Commission agreed.

Also, community consensus-building experts suggested that a visioning process be conducted to gather and prioritize citizen opinions on the best use(s) for the parcel.  Ziffer agreed to this approach, feeling the findings would feed into “his” committee’s work.

Recent Events

Mapping Myers Park Committee

In April, at the first meeting of the Mapping Myers Park (Ziffer’s committee),  Progressive Pediatrics presented their plans for the center for adults with mild developmental disabilities.  The plan was to provide comprehensive services for 60-80 adults.  Their presentation was strong on inspiration and need, but short on details.  Ziffer asked the city planners to assist with some basic site plan type drawings to better illustrate the concept.

Visioning Committee

In April and May, three visioning workshops were conducted.  The sense of the community from the visioning workshops indicate a strong desire for:

  • Maintenance of Sesquicentennial (“Trull”) buildings (the Parks and Recreation current headquarters buildings)
  • The parcel remain parkland and under city (public) ownership
  • Multi-functional recreational uses of the park be developed
  • The historical and aesthetic qualities of the parcel be maintained and/or enhanced.

You can read the executive summary and the final report of the visioning committee here.  

Friends of Tallahassee Parks and Recreation

The Friends are the organizers of the original opposition to the conversion and sale of the park parcel and the developers of the initial alternative recreational plans for the parcel.  They are currently updating their original report to the planning commission.  It is anticipated that their revised report will be presented to the Myers Park Mapping Committee.

Next Steps

The MP Mapping Committee will meet two more times.  At the end of May, they’ll discuss the Visioning Report and basic site plans for the Progressive Pediatrics facility.  In mid-June, they’ll discuss the Friends report and aim to reach a consensus on recommendations for the parcel to present to the city commission.

At the end of June, Comm. Ziffer will present the recommendations to the city commission.  What happens from there depends on the commission’s decision.

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