Cascades Park Update

The state of Florida and the city of Tallahassee may soon have an agreement to return ownership of Cascades Park and Centennial Field to the city and the people of Tallahassee. The city says it's been waiting years for this and has big plans to restore the park to what it once was.

Some history buffs would say Cascades Park is the most important piece of Tallahassee history because they say with out it, Tallahassee may not have become the capital city of Florida.

Aside from being the city attorney, Jim English is also a history buff. Lately he's been brushing up on his historical knowledge of Cascades Park.

"I'm a native. I have a lot of connection to that property. I played little league football there and sat in the Centennial Stands a couple of times. I'm just aware of the significance of the site," says Jim.

And the significance goes pretty far back.

"It is the site that was found in 1823 where the founders said this is where we need to build our capital. It's unique,” adds Jim.

Mark Mustian, Tallahassee City Commissioner, says, "There used to be a spring and cascades that came down and that's why they decided to located the capital here."

In the late 1980's, coal tar contamination was found in the soil of the park. Immediately, the park was fenced and shut down.

"At one time there was a ball field and city buildings, but now it's just sat here for a long time," Mustian says.

Mustian and English agree enough time has been lost and it's time to bring Cascades Park back to the people.

"This was the very piece of dirt they feel in love with and said, we need to build our capital here, governor," says Jim English.

The agreement is now on the way to the governor's office. He is expected to sign off on the deal that gives Cascades Park back to the city, and the state may help with funding for the cleanup. This could all happen before the end of this year.

First the contaminated dirt has to be dug up and taken away, but after that, the possibilities are endless. Lake Ella could be a model, may be a new ball field, possibly an amphitheater.