by Mark Taylor, CMPA Board member
The dust has settled on the budget year 2013 (October 1, 2012 – Sept 30, 2013) and the results are phenomenal for the most hotly debated public project in Northwest Florida, the Community Maritime Park. Many who read the PNJ have read articles about budget deficits as well as other reader’s comments and posts about “millions” of dollars draining our city coffers.
The real truth is the CMPA realized only a $170,000 deficit in its second year of operations! With over 350,000 guests attending over 100 diverse and multi-cultural events, I’d say a 48 cent per head deficit isn’t too bad! Even if you factor in the CRA’s bond payments on the development, you are still under a combined $8.50 per event attendee subsidy that undeniably has increased our quality of life and has helped spur on further development in our community!
Don’t worry though, the Community Maritime Park Board of Trustee’s is working tirelessly to increase revenue and to decrease and eventually eliminate any public subsidy of the Community Maritime Park!
The City of Pensacola set aside $320,000 to offset the CMPA’s operating budget and nearly half was returned to the City unused! In addition to the returned money, the CMPA was able to raise and set aside $212,000 in its Capital Maintenance Fund to continually prepare for the upcoming expenses that will be required to keep Pensacola’s Award Winning Waterfront Stadium in pristine condition. At this rate, the CMPA should be in the black with no City subsidy for operations by fiscal year 2016!
Exciting developments that are forthcoming at the CMP include 1) UWF Argonaut football starting in 2016, 2) the erection of the Maritime Place (Studer Properties) four story office building, and 3) the soon to be constructed Beck office and mixed use building. We have 6 remaining parcels still open for private development.
As each private parcel is leased out and built upon, not only will the City receive lease payments, but the property taxes that these multi-million dollar improvements bring in will increase the Community Redevelopment Agency budget. The CRA is responsible for the bond repayment on the park. 57.82% of the taxes collected will go to the CRA, 40% will go to the School District, and the remaining to Water Management and the Libraries.
To continue making the Community Maritime Park great, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please consider being involved in the CMP in one of the following ways.
1)Use the amphitheatre, festival grounds, or ballpark for your next private event. The venues are a great value and can be rented through the City of Pensacola Neighborhood Services (850-436-5670).
2)Join and volunteer as a “Friend of the Community Maritime Park”. The public portion of the park is not complete, plans for a daytime marina as well as a children’s park are still in the works. With volunteer help from Nina Fritz we are launching a merchandise line in the coming months where all proceeds will benefit the public amenities at the park. We need volunteers to help us sell this merchandise and to promote the CMP around our community! Email Ed Spears at ESpears@CityOfPensacola.com for more information.
3)Attend events at the CMP! These exciting activities with the best waterfront view in Pensacola are on the calendar at www.PlayPensacola.com!