A Look at Cascade Park: What’s Coming for Tallahassee

Cascade Park, the $30 million construction project downtown, looks like an abandoned archeological dig, but after completion, it is expected to become the city’s premier park destination.

The park, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2013, will feature a large amphitheater performance space, more than 80 water fountains designed for children to play in, walking trails and many other entertainment and recreational amenities. Grants and private donations have helped to cover part of the construction costs. Backers hope the site will be venue for local events and give residents a place to come together.

“I love taking my daughters to different parks around town,” said Tallahassee resident Mike Mchargue. “The new park sounds like it’s going to be a cool place to take your family and kids, I plan on using the park frequently when it opens.”

The project is being built by Blueprint 2000, a city-county agency that handles infrastructure improvements. Its work is funded by a penny sales tax that was approved by voters in 2000. According to a press release from Blueprint 2000, Cascade Park will have two purposes: to increase storm water storage capacity and to provide green space for downtown residents. The park will act as a storm water retention site with two ponds to reduce the likelihood of flooding on Franklin Boulevard and South Monroe Street during major storms.

“The initial purpose of the park is to help address the flooding problems,” said Gary Phillips, a project engineer. “This park is unique in a lot of examples, one being that it’s designed to flood.”

The location has been under construction since 2009 and is expected to be completed by next spring. The construction has been so long because of the dual purposes the park is going to serve and the cleaning up of ground contamination from a manufactured gas plant that once operated in the park.

“We are extremely excited about where we stand, it took a while to get the park actually transferred to the city of Tallahassee, and it took a while to get the contamination agreement worked out, but now that’s done, that is the beginning of the recreation of the park,” said Dave Bright, Blueprint 2000 planning manager.

Many residents are awaiting the opening of the park. The construction has been long, but the new park is expected to be used by many residents.

“The park has been in progress for a while and the construction has been a hassle for commuting,” said Irene Gonzalez, a student who lives near the park. “I’m excited to see it all finished though, I’m sure it will be a great park and a great place for the community.”