Published: August 23, 2006
It’s probably one of the most important decisions local voters will make this political season, next to electing a new governor. The Maritime Park proposal has generated more conversation than any other issue and WSRE wants voters to hear from both proponents and opponents on a special one-hour telecast of “Connecting the Community.”
The show is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 on PBS. The live televised symposium will feature a panel of local journalists moderated by WSRE’s Robin Woods, providing viewers with an unbiased discussion of the proposed multi-use waterfront park.
“It’s an important community decision with implications stretching far into the future of Pensacola. We want to provide citizens with the facts in an organized and non-partisan format, one last time before the vote,” said Tony Ferguson, program producer, in a press release provided by WSRE.
PJC students welcome a chance to hear both sides of the issue.
“I’ve heard about all the stuff they wanted to include, but I haven’t really heard that much about the opposed side,” said PJC student Nichelle Zeidman. “I do think it’s important if people are voting on what’s happening to the land that they should be informed of the possible outcomes so they can better determine what they think is going to be right for the community.”
Although several public meetings have been held on this controversial subject, many Pensacola residents still are unable to determine fact from fiction. Here are several key facts:
– The proposed site is approximately 30 acres of bayfront property in downtown Pensacola between Devilliers and Spring streets (across from City Hall).
– The City Council approved the purchase of the land from Trillium Co. in 2000 (previously owned by Chevron) with intent to build an auditorium, open park, and commercial space.
– In 2003, city residents voted to prevent the Council from continuing any further action to develop the land with the proposed plan.
– The current maritime park concept includes a multi-use stadium; UWF classrooms, offices, and conference room; a maritime museum; performance area/amphitheater; and open green space. (A lighthouse, public marina, and other amenities are planned to be built later with private funds.)
– The public portion of funding would come from an existing tax fund designated to revitalize the downtown area.
– No new taxes would be required to build the park.
– The Pensacola Pelicans will lease the stadium at $175,000 per year for 10 years.