News Pensacola

Final Urban Advisory Committee Meeting

October 30, 2012

The Mayor’s Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee will hold its final meeting tomorrow. Since February, the group has met in an effort to draw up a plan for fostering growth in the city of Pensacola’s downtown area.

Brian Hooper, chairman of the advisory board, said today that the committee will be going over a final report at the last meeting.

“Tomorrow we’re going to review it, make any final changes and then approve it,” Hooper said, declining to detail the report. “We’ve kept a pretty good lid on it.”

The chairman did say that the final report contained more than 75 recommendations for bettering downtown’s prospects. He said the report would contain recommendations, from which Mayor Ashton Hayward could “pick and choose the ones he likes.”

“There’s no way someone could implement all of them,” Hooper said of the recommendations.

Tomorrow’s advisory committee meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at Pensacola City Hall. The public will have an opportunity to offer their input.

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  • Set aside October 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Wow George – Tessier and the members of the URAC must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!

  • George Hawthorne October 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Travis – No they haven’t because anyone who did couldn’t make such comments with a straight face. I have been involved in RE development for more than 25 years and the “blank slate” process and public design charrettes utilized by the URAC are based upon the best-practices in community redevelopment that have led to some dynamic redevelopment of Downtown districts … Like Ashville NC (Chuck’s hometown), Atlanta GA (my hometown).

    Additionally, the process utilized a key element of looking at the “publicly-held” properties as a basis of defining potential catalytic projects that could be utilized in “public-private” partnerships to attract private developers to spur growth.

    This is a winning development strategy utilized in successful jurisdictions across the country and has spurred billions of dollars worth of new development.

  • Travis Peterson October 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Have any of you – named or unnamed – actually ATTENDED a URAC Meeting?

    (I know George has….)

  • dot October 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    i seem to remember a very deliberate and much more public process for the same thing not a year or so ago for this area..with outside professionals “who get the job done”…just didn’t have the mayor’s name on it.

  • George Hawthorne October 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I think that Chuck Tessier is a very qualified community developer and has high ethics. Additionally, he is not a “politician” and gets projects done. To also start “naysaying” the URAC plan before it is done is totally unfair. The URAC had a very deliberate and methodical process that utilized the best practices of community development and made painstaking efforts to get community input and brought in outside professionals to give an objective perspective (Dawson and Co.).

  • Rubber stamp October 31, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Just ask the members of the URAC about the extent of their input to the final report – you will hear crickets. Was Tessier exempted from Sunshine Law due to his role as “advisor” to the URAC? Did he act as a conduit for the exchange of information between committee members? How much input/influence did Spencer have over the process and the final report?

  • CJ Lewis October 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    As a reminder, Hayward is not a member of the Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency (City Council members) and is only temporarily involved with the CRA because the City Council in its role as the CRA contracted with the City of Pensacola to provide administrative support. This is why the CRA Administrator very oddly currently works for Hayward vice CRA Chairperson Brian Spencer. John Asmar verified for a citizen that Hayward has self-designated himself as the CRA Executive Director. Earlier in the year, when Hayward explained to the CRA why he was establishing the CRA, vice the CRA just establishing it, Hayward clarified that the role of the URAC was to provide recommendations to Hayward in his role advising the CRA. Hayward has no personal authority to implement anything on behalf of the CRA. The most likely path ahead will be for the new Coucnil to terminate the Interlocal Agreement that expires in January, hires its own CRA Administrator through Landrum and implement or dismiss whatever ideas the URAC have dreamed up. It might be more honest for the CRA to invite Quint Studer to appear before them to explain what he expects to be done. His employee Chuck Tessier guided the URAC and presumably nothing is in the final report that does not meet with their personal approval.

  • Muddy water October 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Looks like Hooper has headed off any opportunity for legitimate public input during this entire process. He has succeeded in “keeping a lid on it”. I just gotta know – what is he trying to keep a lid on?