WOODLAND HEIGHTS: Neighborhood Receives Community Center

By Wesley Martin

Last Thursday, September 13, the City of Pensacola held a groundbreaking for its seventh neighborhood resource center, Woodland Heights.
The new center, designed by the DAG Architect firm of Pensacola, will be located at Highland Terrace Park on Berkley Drive, and will serve the Woodland Heights neighborhood as well as surrounding neighborhoods like Northeast and Pineglades. The 13,544 square foot center will include two multipurpose meeting rooms, a computer lab, and an auditorium/gym featuring a basketball court and stage.

Walter Wallace, president of the Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association, says the center will be different from those like Fricker and Vickrey in that it will focus on arts and culture – not sports.

“Hopefully it will be a developmental center where kids can develop skills like painting and ballet,” Wallace said. “In Pensacola, we have enough sports activities or any kid that wants to participate.”

Wallace said the center will even have an outside movie wall (adding to the center’s metropolitan feel). And while many in the community seemed to welcome the new addition to their neighborhood, others weren’t so thrilled.

D. Coleman, 22, a life-long resident of Pensacola Village says many of the children who reside in her apartment complex use the basketball court located in Highland Park. She worries that construction will not only take away a healthy outlet for the citizens of Pensacola Village but also that the kids might get hurt due to the construction site.

“This is the only park we have,” Coleman said. “All we do is play basketball.”

“The reason why I say ‘our kids’ is because they are the only ones using the park,” Coleman continued saying that Pensacola Village residents are the main utilizers of Highland Park.

Gerrald Akons, a resident of the Woodland Heights neighborhood for over 20 years, believes the center is way overdue.

“With the resources they’re going have, they can help kids that are going in the wrong direction,” Akons said.  He sees the resource center being a refuge for children who don’t have the best home life.

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