Decades of history flow through the walls at Jake Gaither Community Center. Located on Bragg Drive, it’s one of the 12 city-regulated multi-purpose centers in Tallahassee. Built on 120 acres in 1964, the facility serves many people of the community from children and teenagers to seniors.
Jake Gaither Community Center is named after the acclaimed FAMU football coach, Jake Gaither, so it comes as no surprise that there is a deeply rooted connection forged between the center and the community.
Members of the surrounding neighborhoods have a positive connection to the center because of its inclusiveness and consistency. New weekly activities and events are scheduled at Jake Gaither for young adults and seniors to partake in and have fun. They include pickle ball, tennis, zumba class, tutoring, and more. As well, many students visit the recreation center after school to make use of the site’s computers, gymnasium and game room.
“I come here after school just about every day, ” said 17-year-old Blake Wilson. “I like coming here because I can just pull up and play a few pick-up games [basketball] with my friends sometimes. Or we can just hang out too.”
Although the center is free to the public it has implemented new restrictions to abide by COVID-19 protocol and to ensure safety. For example, masks are always mandatory when inside the building and sanitation stations are set up throughout the center. For many of the people that use the facility this is only another star on the charts for JGCC.
“For the most part no one complains about the COVID restrictions put in place,” said Cynthia Threet, a staff member. “We have a lot of programs for our older members and we want everyone to stay safe so most times they really appreciate it.”
Popularized by being an integral part of its neighborhood, JGCC is always ready to be a positive part in Tallahassee’s communal identity. Staff members at the center said they are energized by the enthusiasm of both regulars and visitors.
“Many times people come in quite excited and electrified,” said Cameron Morrell, a staff member. “It’s enjoyable for me because it brightens my day. Just seeing people smile and get active. It’s a lot they can come here to do so all types of people walk through the doors. I think that’s my favorite part.”