Based on requests from our residents, the CDD has compiled the following information about the proposed recreational amenities project:

    1. The CDD’s Efforts to Find Property and Current Proposed Partnership with the City of Tallahassee
    2. The CDD Board of Supervisor’s Vote to Increase Assessments for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017
    3. Additional Opportunities for Public Input


  1. The CDD’s Efforts to Find Property and Current Proposed Partnership with the City of Tallahassee

In 2013, the Southwood CDD Board of Supervisors began actively discussing the need for additional recreational improvements within Southwood. Since that time, the Board has discussed or taken some action on this issue at almost every monthly meeting and has conducted three workshops on the topic. One immediate result of these discussions was the improvements made to the Tot Lot in Central Park.  The CDD also engaged in extensive discussions with St. Joe throughout most of 2014 to obtain property for new active recreational amenities, including discussion of property near Town Center for a new pool and a possible partnership with the HOA. Ultimately, the CDD was unable to reach an agreement with St. Joe.

In 2015, the City of Tallahassee took ownership of the 62-acre parcel across from the Florida State University School. This particular parcel was already identified in Southwood’s master planning document as the location of future public park improvements, and St. Joe was required to give the land to the City for that purpose.  As part of the approved master plan for Southwood, traffic and stormwater impacts for the full development of the site were analyzed, mitigated, and approved.  The CDD considered other possible ways to obtain land to build additional recreational improvements — including evaluating green space and park property owned by the CDD and other land owned by St. Joe — but, because of land-use restrictions and development challenges associated with these parcels, the CDD ultimately decided to pursue the 62-acre site.

Discussions with the City led to the City Commission considering an agenda item at its January 27, 2016 meeting to consider the basic outline of an agreement between the CDD and City and authorize City staff to work with the CDD on the project and bring a more detailed agreement back for Commission approval.  At that meeting, the CDD was clear about its insistence that general public access to any pool facility would require payment of an annual fee, in fairness to the Southwood residents who would be paying annual assessments to construct and maintain the facility. The City Commission voted 5-0 in support.

Currently, the proposed agreement between the CDD and City is very close to being final, with only relatively minor refinements expected before it will be presented to the City Commission and CDD Board. The basic points of the proposed partnership include:

        • The City will grant a long-term lease to the CDD for a nominal amount (e.g., $1 a year);
        • The CDD has the discretion to determine how much of the site will be developed and what improvements it will pursue;
        • The CDD will charge an annual fee to non-assessment payers (i.e., non-residents) for access to any pool facility;
        • The CDD’s other facilities will be open to the public without a fee, like current CDD parks, but the CDD will control the facilities and may establish reasonable policies and procedures for general use, including policies, procedures and fees for reservation or rental of CDD Improvements for organized practices, tournaments or other special uses;
        • While the CDD will control the facilities, the CDD will make a good faith effort to accommodate City-operated programs; and the City shall pay any operational and maintenance costs directly related to any such City-operated programs.
  1. The CDD Board of Supervisor’s Vote to Increase Assessments for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017In addition to discussing potential locations and partnerships for the proposed recreational improvements, the Board has also discussed preliminary plans and cost estimates at numerous meetings. Most recently, at its September meeting, the Board approved an increase in next year’s budget and assessments (fiscal year 2016-2017) in anticipation of having a final agreement with the City in the next fiscal year and to fund engineering, construction management, and other professional services to develop more detailed plans and cost estimates. The topic was first discussed at the April 2016 meeting; the Board subsequently discussed the budget, including the increase approved at its September meeting, at its May, June, July, and August meetings. While the Board has preliminarily discussed constructing a nine-lane lap pool, a small community center and pavilion, playing fields, sand volleyball courts, and multi-purpose hard courts, the Board has not voted or approved any final plans or costs. The additional services approved by the Board in next year’s budget are intended to help develop more concrete design plans (e.g., hard courts or no hard courts; number of parking spaces; configuration of improvements; etc.), associated projected construction cost estimates, operational plans (e.g., heated or non-heated pool; required staffing levels; fencing, lighting, or other security measures; etc.), and associated projected operational costs. This information will help the Board make a decision about what improvements are ultimately feasible.
  2. Additional Opportunities for Public Input

The public is encouraged to continue participating in this process, and there will be many more opportunities for public input before the Board makes any final decision to fund the construction of additional recreational improvements.  Every regular monthly CDD meeting has an opportunity for public comment, and these meetings are publicized on the CDD website, on its Facebook page, through its email list, and through the HOA’s communication channels. There will also be a required public hearing before any Board vote on an assessment increase to fund construction.  This public hearing will require mailed and published a notice to all homeowners.

The CDD has also developed an email distribution list residents can subscribe and a Facebook page in an effort to increase communication. If you have any follow-up questions or require additional information, contact information for individual CDD Supervisors and staff are available on the CDD’s current website. Otherwise please email your inquiries. A copy of the presentation from September’s meeting has been posted online.