News Pensacola Politics

DIB to Discuss Gallery Night, MURAC

November 5, 2012

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.

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  • Bubbaz November 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The pace of the hostile takeover will accelerate now that Kimbrough is no longer there to provide pushback.

  • touchdown November 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Congrats DIB – you are now a political football. Watch the hostile takeover of DIB continue to play out in slow motion. It ain’t happening by accident.

  • RTDavis November 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    If the downtown businesses are not picking up the tab for their Gallery Night promotions, why should anyone else? Is it only me, or is anyone else getting weary of some (a shrinking number) having to pay for the benefit of others (a growing number)?

  • wayne November 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Why call it Gallery night anymore. In the beginning that is what it was. The stores stayed open until 9. Now after 9 it is just a drinking party. Not against it, just call it what it is now. A Bourbon st. party, without thet strip clubs.

  • Courtney November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    “that the entity’s scope be dramatically reduced”

    When I heard and read the report, I didn’t get that at all. What I took away from the recommendations is that its budget be used more wisely, particularly with regard to police at Gallery Night (use of bollards on the streets) and that revenues be directed to increase the current budget of $4,500 for beautication significantly. Spending that little on beautification projects out of revenues of $1.2M is ineffective. Some of the overhead dollars could also be diverted to help supplement the costs of Gallery Night and other events.