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Thursday August 28th 2014

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DIB to Discuss Gallery Night, MURAC

The Downtown Improvement Board may be having some meaty conversation during its meeting tomorrow morning. The agenda includes a discussion on Gallery Night logistics, as well as the recently approved report from the Mayor’s Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee.

After extending Gallery Night’s street party until midnight on prior occasions, the DIB cut back the hours to 9 p.m. for the Oct. 19 event. The hours were cut after funding needed for the extension—about $3,000 for security and insurance—could not be secured from downtown businesses.

A week after the last Gallery Night, the local police union approached the Pensacola City Council with concerns over an encounter with Mayor Ashton Hayward and DIB board member John Peacock. The union accused Hayward of misusing his position and intimidating officers, while the mayor has responded that officers were being overly heavy handed in their crowd-control efforts and that he was unaware of the 9 p.m. street opening.

DIB officials have said that the funds are not available for extending Gallery Night until midnight unless businesses step up to pay for the extension. Sandra Ward, DIB executive director, said this morning that the needed funding has not yet been secured for the November event.

The other item—the recent MURAC report—is of particular interest to the DIB. Contained within is a recommendation that the entity’s scope be dramatically reduced. The report recommends reducing costs at the DIB by limiting its staff to one clerical position to be housed within the mayor’s office; the DIB, in that scenario, would effectively be an advisory board to the mayor.

Tomorrow’s DIB meeting begins at 7:30 a.m. at 41 N. Jefferson St.