Summary of Services

The Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department (PRNA) provides recreational opportunities for Tallahassee and Leon County citizens, liaison assistance for neighborhood associations, and operates the Animal Service Center. The department has 209 full-time staff, hundreds of seasonal part-time employees, and an annual operating budget of $25.9 million. Nine major areas comprise PRNA: administration, parks, recreation, athletics, special events, tennis, animal services and control, senior services, and neighborhood affairs.


Named “Best in America” by the National Recreation and Park Association in 2004, the nationally recognized department operates and maintains 3,455 acres of well-managed parkland, ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to regional parks. The City’s park system runs the gamut from “active” recreational complexes, complete with various athletic facilities, to so-called “passive” parks, where visitors may enjoy the quiet natural surroundings. The park system features 70 miles of trails, four dog parks, a skate park, two disc golf courses, and a Miracle League Baseball field. A team of landscape designers, horticultural experts, and maintenance crews work year-round to keep parkland clean, attractive, and functionally useful for the thousands of people who enjoy the parks.


Program offerings include arts and crafts classes, fitness classes, adult and youth sports, organized playground programs, and specialty programs for citizens with disabilities. The department also plays a leading role in staging Tallahassee’s special events, ranging from Springtime Tallahassee to the Red Hills Horse Trials. The Special Events unit also serves as the lead coordinating agency for the area’s largest nighttime event, the hugely popular Winter Festival and Celebration of Lights, as well as the Celebrate America event on July 4 at Tom Brown Park.


The Animal Services division oversees the Animal Service Center. Responsibilities and programs include enforcing animal control ordinances for the City, sheltering stray/homeless pets, adoption services and foster care for homeless animals, monthly low-cost rabies and microchip clinics, and reuniting owners with their lost pets. The goal is to provide resources for owners to keep animals in their homes.


The Neighborhood Affairs division serves as a liaison to neighborhood and homeowners’ associations. The division assists various City departments in direct community outreach to these groups, such as facilitating the Neighborhood Leadership Academy, the Neighborhood of the Year Program, and the Neighborhood PREP Program.


FY22

In FY22, Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs Department saw an increase of 29.5 FTE employees. Of those, 28 of the positions were existing City employees in OPS roles working at a nearly full-time capacity, and as such, transitioned into a full-time salaried role. The remaining 1.5 positions were new positions added to the FY22 budget. PRNA also increased wages for many of its temporary employees. As a result, there will be an increase in salary and temporary wage budget lines in FY22. With post-COVID-19 openings, operational expenses and revenues are also expected to increase slightly from the previous year.



Click here to return to the budget presentation.


Click here for PRNA's website.








2-D-i-1: Leverage community resources to increase access to recreational facilities and programs

The availability of and access to recreational facilities and programs plays an important role in promoting good public health and keeping young people engaged. Access to recreation and physical activity plays a key role in childhood and adolescent development and these facilities may be the only place for young people to socialize and be active outside of a school setting. In addition to the City’s extensive network of parks, trails and recreational facilities, the City of Tallahassee frequently works with community partners to increase access to recreational facilities and programs. It continuously seeks to expand program offerings based on the ever-changing needs of this community and to ensure equal access.


The City continuously reinvents itself by taking programs on the road, offering programs at non-traditional times, and broadcasting activities over social media, the City’s government access channel WCOT  and YouTube. The City conducts regular service delivery evaluations and requests feedback from participants to stay informed about the community’s needs. Moving forward, it will focus on increasing access to recreational activities by establishing new partnerships, utilizing the City’s neighborhood network, working with other entities to improve community outreach, enhancing marketing efforts and adjusting service delivery methods. 

5-E-i-1: Identify faith centers that will serve as potential recovery staging sites for distribution of water, meals and emergency goods.

he City’s Plan for Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) program engages communities and encourages individuals, families, and neighborhoods to work together to help keep each other safe during emergencies. An important component of implementing the PREP program is cultivating partnerships with faith centers, businesses and community organizations. To adequately respond to large scale emergencies as a community, it takes the collaboration of many local partners to assist in preparing our residents for emergencies and disasters, and aiding in quick recovery and response efforts. Our faith centers are widespread throughout the City and therefore offer a wide distributional effort to help people in their own communities. Building effective partnerships with faith centers helps to increase our overall mission of creating a broader emphasis on emergency preparedness within the community at large.

  

Over the last two years, the City has established partnerships with 8 churches located in the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest regions of the city, in an effort to effectively meet the needs of residents in the areas where they live. Faith-based centers have agreed to assist in various post-storm efforts that include hosting and providing a community meal, utilizing facilities as comfort stations, making volunteers available to help neighbors, coordinating clean-up crews, and other outreach efforts. These partnerships not only provide opportunities for City staff to serve residents, but for residents to provide support for their neighbors.

  

City staff has been actively engaging faith centers to help provide services following a disaster. To further assist in increasing community awareness of disaster preparedness, the City plans to continue our work to build relationships and partnerships. The City’s goal is to increase the number of faith-based organizational partnerships from 8 to 50 by 2024. Our effective organization and effective partnership with community faith centers is critical to the mission of serving our neighbors during the aftermath of any disaster.





7-A-5: Complete construction of the second Senior Center by 2024.

The Tallahassee Senior Center (TSC) operates at full capacity for scheduling programs, classes, and activities for our community’s large and growing demographic of people age 50+. The current location is fully occupied, preventing the addition of more and new fitness, wellness, lifelong learning, and other recreational opportunities. Each month, 180 different programs and activities are offered at the TSC or one of its neighborhood sites, 40 more opportunities than offered five years ago. Close to 500 people participate at the TSC on a daily basis, and approximately 5,000 attend at least one activity or event each month. Often, activities share space in the existing building. Parking remains a challenge, with no additional land on which to expand.  In 2014 funding for a 2nd Senior Center was approved as part of the City’s portion of the Blueprint 2020 Sales Tax Funds.   


The City has been tracking participation trends in the past several years. In 2018, staff met with many stakeholders who use the TSC, including advisory councils, boards, participants, volunteers, groups and organizations, and seniors in general.  Eleven public meetings were held, and more than 400 paper and on-line surveys were received with valuable feedback for the new center.     

   

In June 2019 an architectural firm was selected to design the new facility.  The Program Phase was completed in May 2020, resulting in a 45,000 square foot building that meets the budget goal.  This new facility will model a complete Senior Center with a broad array of program offerings.  Program spaces include a medium-sized conference center, Lifelong Learning, Wellness Center, Fitness equipment, Art Studio, welcoming lobby and pre-event space, cards and game room, and a gymnasium large enough to accommodate six pickleball courts, 2 basketball courts, multiple table tennis tables, and 2 volleyball courts.  At least 50% of the Design Phase has been completed.  Construction is tentatively projected to begin in late 2021, completion is on track for 2024    

7-A-6: Achieve CAPRA accreditation (Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies) from the National Recreation and Parks Association by 2024.

The City maintains a safe, accessible, well-maintained network of parks, recreational programs, greenways and trails. By working with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the City will pursue Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) Accreditation, which is a national standard by which Parks and Recreation departments are measured.


The City has been a leader in providing quality recreation programs and well-maintained parks and trails for decades. CAPRA Accreditation will evaluate current practices with the goal of ensuring a management system of best practices.  Currently there are 172 accredited Parks and Recreation departments in the U.S., and 23 of those are located within the state of Florida. Pursuing accreditation benefits the Tallahassee community by:


  • Demonstrating that the agency meets national standards of best practice.
  • Recognizing the community as a great place to live.
  • Helping secure external financial support and reduce costs for the community.
  • Holding an agency accountable to the public and ensures responsiveness to meet their needs.
  • Ensuring that all staff are providing quality customer service.

The CAPRA platform consists of a two-year accreditation process upon submittal of the application. Training is offered every fall at the National Recreation and Parks Association conference.  Currently, staff has designated a coordinator who is reviewing 151 standards and assessing existing measures in preparation for completing the 103-page self-assessment report.  Working groups will be established based upon the standards required for certification, along with milestones for completion. The initial application will be submitted in the 1st quarter of CY 2021.  

7-B-i-1: Facilitate neighborhood entry signage and placemaking. 

Tallahassee has unique and diverse neighborhoods. The City of Tallahassee wants to highlight that uniqueness by facilitating placemaking through entry signage. These projects celebrate the individual communities’ identity, express their culture, and foster social cohesion. Placemaking through entry signage is a way to preserve the unique characteristics of neighborhoods. The City currently operates two grant programs that offer funding for neighborhood signage and other placemaking initiatives.


  • The Neighborhood Partnership Grant (NPG) program is funded by the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and administered by Neighborhood Affairs, offers grants up to $5000 to neighborhoods located within the Greater Frenchtown/Southside CRA District. Grants are awarded on a first come, first serve basis for projects that improve physical and public safety conditions within a neighborhood. To date, the program has awarded four grants for projects that have added various amenities to the receiving neighborhoods: Levy Park, Carolina Oaks, Frenchtown, and South Bronough Street.
  • The Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant (VNG) program, also funds neighborhood signage and small-scale physical improvements, which must be done in the public rights of way or on common property owned/controlled by neighborhood/homeowners’ association. The VNG program is open to all neighborhoods within the City limits. To date, the program has funded four community beautification projects, which have taken place in Crawfordville Trace, Griffin Heights, Victory Gardens, and Old Town neighborhoods.

In FY2020, there were 7 signage/placemaking projects completed in Old Town, Griffin Heights, Victory Gardens Phase II, Crawfordville Trace, S. Bronough Street, Carolina Oaks, and Frenchtown. Moving forward, the City will continue to support neighborhood signage and placemaking projects through the Neighborhood Partnership Grant and the Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant (VNG) programs.