Flagler Estates Community Center is partially open now

Residents of Flagler Estates will soon have full access to a long-awaited community center.

Community members, elected officials and others gathered Friday morning at 9960 Oliver Ave. in Hastings to celebrate the center, which is complete except for a few finishing touches, said Jamie Baccari, assistant director of parks and recreation for St. Johns County.

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David Williams, chair of the Flagler Estates Community Redevelopment Area Steering Committee, prepares to cut a ribbon Friday morning alongside other leaders of the new Flagler Estates Community Center.

Flagler Estates, which is largely rural, is in the southwestern part of the county.

The county hopes to fully open the community center and begin planning events by the end of this month, Baccari said. The playground, basketball court and field are now accessible to the community.

“It will be a great opportunity for the community… We can provide local resources, such as Flagler Hospital, probably a bookmobile – but we will partner with other local nonprofits,” she said . .

The goal is to provide people with resources and a place for meetings and events, such as family reunions. The space will be available for rental, she said. Space rental information will be posted on sjcfl.us/Recreation.

According to a county press release, the facility includes:

  • Approximately 1,240 square feet of community space
  • ADA access to everything
  • A footpath
  • A drinks station and a bike station
  • A playground
  • Shade structures
  • Improved and enlarged parking lot
  • Air-conditioned toilets

The county’s efforts began several years ago when the county’s Parks and Recreation Department applied for a federal block grant for community development, Baccari said. Funding was secured, but the project was delayed by COVID-19.

The grant was $584,000, according to the county.

David Williams, chairman of the Flagler Estates Community Redevelopment Area Steering Committee, said there was still a lot of work to do while the ARC was still active. The ARC uses a portion of the area’s property tax revenue to make improvements to the community.

“There are so many important projects that we need to accomplish over the next 10 years,” he said.

According to the county, “The Flagler Estates Park (Community Center) development will provide additional recreational activities, programs and public services to residents of the Flagler Estates community. With the addition of the walking trail, new rebate programs will be available for youth and seniors in the community.The addition of temperature-controlled washrooms and community space will allow for youth enrichment programs, summer programs, education, seniors programs, community gatherings and wellness programs.

Williams said at the groundbreaking in November that a community center had been a residents’ vision for more than a decade and it took the support and persistence of many in the community to bring it to fruition.

“This is the start of what can happen here at Flagler Estates – hopefully some really good things,” he said.

Jill E. Washington