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Tuesday September 30th 2014

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PYP explains its forum regarding URAC

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Tonight the Pensacola Young Professionals are holding a forum at The Fish House on the October, 2012 report by the Mayor’s Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee (URAC).

Though the forum has been promoted to the PYP membership as an opportunity for them to vote on three URAC recommendation that they would like Mayor Ashton Hayward to consider, others are also listed as sponsors –Seville Rotary, Propeller Club and now Pensacola Port Users Association.

The audience will listen to presentations by Mayor Hayward, URAC chair Brian Hooper and Alan Gray, who chairs the PYP Governmental Affairs committee.

Chad Stacy, PYP President, told the Independent News that he is grateful to Brian Hooper for his work on the URAC.

“PYP is 100-percent behind economic development of downtown Pensacola,” Stacy said. “Our mission is to share our passion for and belief in the Pensacola Bay Area, and to act as a catalyst for positive change in our community. By putting on Forums like this we can bring important issues, like the port, in front of the community and get some action.”

Brian Hooper, PYP Member-at-Large and URAC Chair, provided answers to the following:

How the idea for the forum came about?

BH: PYP was founded specifically for political action—namely, supporting the Community Maritime Park. While PYP does not endorse particular politicians, it does lend its support to various community efforts and initiatives on a case-by-case basis. When the URAC Final Report came out—and many of us on the committee were young professionals—the PYP leadership approached me about endorsing some of our 150-plus recommendations.

Given all of the time and thoughtful deliberation that went into our report, I am of course pleased that groups in the community—such as PYP, among others—have read the report cover-to-cover and are excited about working to implement our recommendations. One of the goals of PYP is to provide young professionals an opportunity to learn and get engaged in our civic life. We have a renewed focus on involvement in governmental issues, and this forum is a way for us to give our members a chance to learn about new and important issues facing the community.

What do you hope to achieve?

BH: I think the forum will give PYP’s 300 members a chance to learn more about the URAC recommendations and make an educated collective decision on which issues are most important to young professionals in our community.

How will you narrow down the list from 10 to 3?

BH: Like most of our activities, we will narrow the list down to three based on informed discussion and a vote of the PYP members present at the meeting.

What do you feel about economic development in downtown Pensacola as a young Professional?

BH: I think you would find almost every member of PYP would say that economic development is a first priority for the community. We see our peers leaving for jobs elsewhere, even though they would rather stay here for the quality of life. As active, involved young professionals we need to be leading and pushing our business leaders on this issue. Today, Pensacola is on the rise. We have advanced from a difficult time, and now many feel a growing sense of optimism and momentum. The URAC’s vision for Pensacola’s downtown is that of an authentic, sustainable community, where Pensacolians may live, work, gather, and play. A revitalized downtown will help attract visitors, new residents, businesses, and jobs. One of the few places in our region that provides an authentic urban experience, downtown Pensacola is capable of attracting the business and talent essential for being competitive. As many recognize, our downtown has already begun to offer the lifestyle amenities, culture, and vibrant street life—among other things—that define the South’s most popular coastal cities.

Alan Gray also weighed in: “The goal of the Forum is to highlight the issues and get feedback from PYP members and our community on important issues.”

He said: “We cannot neglect Economic Development. It won’t happen by itself. PYP feels a strong sense of responsibility to grasp this opportunity to make a difference and lead the way the deciding the 3 most important issues for our area. The Forum will give members and interested citizens the opportunity to be educated on the issues and be involved in the process. We hope that this will encourage other to do the same.”

BASICS:
PYP will co-host the URAC Forum with Seville Rotary, Propeller Club & Port of Pensacola Users Association at the Fish House.

5:30-6 p.m. Networking
6 p.m. Forum starts

Mayor Hayward, Brian Hooper and Alan Gray will explain the issues and then will answer questions from the floor. PYP members will be polled after the forum.