Escambia County

Boone Report: Rush to nothing

April 7, 2009

IN reporter Sean Boone attended yesterday Council meeting. This is his report.

Another day, another Community Maritime Park meeting.

On Monday, Pensacola City Council spent nearly three hours discussing an updated developer agreement that…well…none had even read yet.

According to City Manager Al Coby, the newly revised 107-page agreement between the city and the Maritime Park Development Partners, LLC (MPDP) includes all expectations of both parties, but needs to be read through before finalizing.

So what was the point of Monday’s “special” update?

To have the city’s consultant for the park Barry Abramson discuss every detail of the project line by line and point out what was changed this time around in the draft—of course (not that Council or the audience could have read Coby’s memo from last week on the matter.).

Although the general attitude of Council, staff, the developer and even Community Maritime Park Associates Chairman Lacey Collier seemed positive about the updated agreement, no timetable was set on Monday for striking a deal—which is actually a change from previous meetings.

Last week, Coby told MPDP team by Friday, April 3 but had to break that promise and Wiggins’ timetable that the mayor had created for completing the development agreement for the park.

This week was supposed to be the week for Council to vote on a finalized draft agreement and when the city could finally start wrapping up its expenditures on consultants and attorney—which so far is in the ballpark of $150,000.

While significant advancements have been made in the structure of the agreement in just the past few months, who will ultimately blow the whistle at the end of the game?

The city? The CMPA?

Without direct accountability from one body, the question seems to go back to the structure of our government body. Is it time for a strong mayor?

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