Tallahassee City Commission backs arts center and planned Southside satellite project – Tallahassee Reports

In a unanimous vote, Tallahassee City Commissioners gave the green light to the Sheridan Center for the Arts to be added to the master plan process for the Northwood Center site. The vote took place during the meeting of the municipal commission on January 26.

In December 2021, council discussed the performing arts center proposed by Michael and Judy Sheridan. The proposal calls for a public-private partnership where the city will donate 5 acres of the Northwood Center project, and the Sheridan Foundation will pay for the construction and operating costs of the arts center.

The proposed arts center will be a 20,000 square foot facility, housing a 450-seat auditorium, black box performance hall, stage and multi-purpose hall. The estimated cost of the facility is around $8 million, and Judy Sheridan said the foundation plans to launch a campaign to raise $3 million for the construction.

Initially, some commissioners were hesitant to commit to the project at the December meeting until more details were provided. However, at the January 26 meeting, all Commissioners expressed strong support for moving forward.

The Sheridan project has had overwhelming support from the community, both physically and virtually. During the meeting, Commissioners viewed a video of supporters highlighting the importance of the performing arts center and how it would positively impact the community by creating space for organizations to grow and grow. organize shows.

Additionally, many citizens stood up and addressed the commission to praise the Sheridan’s efforts and express how Tallahassee would benefit from the performing arts center.

“I’m an enthusiastic supporter of the proposal,” Mayor John Dailey said to kick off the discussion.

Commissioner Jack Porter added a few words: “I support this project… it really is an incredibly generous gift. She also pointed out that for decades Tallahassee wanted an arts center and this was a perfect opportunity.

The proposal passed with only one concern expressed by Commissioners Matlow and Williams-Cox. “This project was discussed at COCA and is proudly supported, but the issue of inclusion has come up,” Matlow said. He said he wanted to move forward with the deal to see what it would look like but to be sure to “include that room” so everyone has access to the arts center.

Finally, Williams-Cox strongly suggested that Southside children and residents have access to the Northwood Center as well as a satellite facility on the Southside of Tallahassee. She said that as things stand, children have to be bussed across the city for these kinds of programs.

Finally, after much debate over a satellite center and programming for the Southside, Mayor Dailey suggested that Williams-Cox first approve the arts center to be added to the Northwood Center master plan. However, also giving the City Manager new direction to begin a study for a facility and which performing arts groups would benefit from a satellite center. The motion passed unanimously.

William E. Bennett