On Topic With: Brian WelchApr 13, 2022 04:16PM ● By Cristi McKee
The Bradfordville Bugle strives to inform readers of what’s going on in their local community. Through our monthly Q&A session titled, “On Topic With...”, we’re able to interview our government officials and community leaders to hear what they have to say about current issues in the Bradfordville area.
Brian Welch is the Leon County Commissioner representing the citizens of District 4.
He has served on the Board of Commissioners since 2020 and currently serves as a social studies teacher at Lawton Chiles High School, where he’s worked since 2007.
He’s lived in northeast Tallahassee since 1997.
With the development of the Bradfordville and Bannerman areas and the creation of new homes and businesses, do you expect the re-zoning of schools to happen soon?
“With increased development in all of NE Tallahassee, I would expect the inevitable construction of new school facilities and rezoning of current facilities in the coming years. Almost all of our NE schools are at or near capacity so the simple math would indicate the need for more classrooms. The school district is in the early stages of analyzing the ability to add more buildings at Chiles. As we see the development of the Welaunee property in the next 5-10 years, I would assume we should expect for the construction of a new elementary, middle and high school somewhere to the East of Centerville Rd. on the Welaunee property.”
Are there any guidelines or policies that you hope to see implemented this school year?
“As the school year is almost over, we have reverted essentially back to normal in terms of school operations. However, Covid fundamentally changed the way our classrooms operate. The school district invested in laptops to create a true one to one digital experience that is now the standard for classroom experiences. We utilize Canvas as curriculum software and many classes are virtually paperless. I would anticipate this to continue and be further utilized to streamline instruction into the future. this will allow schools the ability to pivot if future disruptions occur.”
Do you have any hopes or expectations for what the former Kohl’s building across from Chiles High School may be converted into?
“The former Kohl’s building has been purchased by an out of town developer. They are seeking a rezoning of the property and have indicated they intend to convert it into a climate controlled storage facility. I know many folks had hoped for something more exciting there but the cost and size of the building made it too expensive for most types of redevelopment. In cases like this, the uses of a facility are driven by market forces.”
What hopes do you have for the development of more parks in the Northside of Tallahassee at this time?
“Creating more parks and recreational infrastructure was a priority for me when I ran for the Leon County Commission, In my first year, we were able to reprioritize and relocate the planned NE park to the land directly South of Roberts Elementary school, which will allow its construction to occur by 2024 as opposed to 2035. The new NE park will be a full recreational facility with ball fields, restrooms, playgrounds and all the other amenities that the NE desperately needs. We have also recently acquired Man’ O War and Pimlico parks in the Killearn Acres neighborhood and are converting them to County parks which will allow for public access and a much better maintenance operation to ensure their access in perpetuity. We are also close to starting construction on the Market District park, which will be located near Premier Fitness center and will have a green space for lounging as well as a playground, splash pad, pickle ball courts and a walking path. All of these are examples of my commitment to ensuring that the as the NE continues to experience residential and population growth that we build the appropriate public infrastructure like parks, trails, sidewalks and other amenities to accommodate our increasing and existing population.”