Almost a year after the Valparaiso City Commission brought up demolishing one of the oldest buildings in town, they have approved an official committee to take care of the structure and provide residents with things to do there.
The Valparaiso Community Center started as a one-room schoolhouse for students in the area – one of Okaloosa County’s oldest schools.
As of now, the building doubles as both a community and a senior center for the town of about 5,000 people.
In January of 2022, after receiving reports the building had become a liability from a safety and insurance standpoint – the Valparaiso City Commission considered demolishing the building.
Community members raised money; contractors promised to pitch in. By the end of spring, a plan had been created to take care of the building long-term.
The commission partered with a steering committee, which had been made up of leaders of the effort to keep the building and money raised by the community was doled out for various repairs and activities.
Through the summer, the steering committee, led by resident and two-time mayoral candidate Patrick Palmer, put on activities at the community center for residents of the entire community.
On December 12th, the commission officially voted unanimously to install an official city committee to oversee the building. Many of the steering committee members were named to terms of up to five years.
The committee will still report to the city commission, as they will be an unelected body, but will have a more official role as a part of the city government.