Escambia County Pensacola Politics

Weekend Buzz: Mud, Dollar General, Grover and Stallion

November 25, 2013

Mud Island
Pensacola’s Mud Island

Eighteen months after the Vince Whibbs, Sr. Community Maritime Park opened, the city has a problem with the retention pond at the park. The liner has floated to the surface, forming a mud island.

Mark Taylor, a CMPA board member, said that it is too early to conclude the cause, but it appears it could be one of two things.

Mud lsland_city hall

He said, “Simply the depth of the pond, elevation of the ground water, and elevation of the tidal plane are all wreaking havoc on the pond, or some kind of soil gasses are coming up that could be floating the liner.”

Dollar General Protest

The furor over the possibility of the construction of a Dollar Store near Cordova Park has not subsided. East Hill Baptist Church dropped by our offices on Friday to tell its side of the story. I will post that interview later today.

Grover Rakes In Cash

Commissioner Grover Robinson was the guest of honor at a campaign fundraiser last Thursday held at Nick’s Boathouse. Jim Cronley, Fred Donovan, Sr., Jim Reeves and Robert Rinke hosted the breakfast that raised over $18,000 for Robertson’s 2014 re-election.

Reining in Stallion

The Escambia County Commission was not too pleased about the latest funding plan submitted by the city of Pensacola and the Greater Pensacola Chamber for Project Stallion, the Malaysia-based aerospace company that is considering a location at the Pensacola International Airport and bringing with it 350 jobs to the area.

Scott Luth, vice president for economic development at the chamber, asked the commissioners at their Nov. 19 Committee of the Whole meeting to consider relocation of its Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds to provide $10 million for Project Stallion.

Commissioners Wilson Robertson and Steven Barry expect something in back from the city for the $10 million loan.

“I won’t support Project Stallion without a commitment, and I want it in writing, that the $10 million will be replenished,” said Robertson.

Barry said, “For two parties, there has to be equity on both sides.”

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  • jeeperman November 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Hey if we need to lure a big company with a bribe, we should have Ed Gray and his Capital Trust Agency come up with the money.
    They can finance anything!

  • joe November 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    CJ Lewis,

    you should print out all the derogatory and snob related comments you have written about other areas, gulf breeze being one, and eat them. Should not the taxpayers be interested in getting unused property onto the property tax roles and serve the resident’s needs? (Jamestown)But the not in my back yard mentality prevails.
    There’s not a lack of green space and parks in that area.

  • Eric November 25, 2013 at 10:12 am

    The area encompassing the airport, mall, and hospital are all within city limits. It actually goes north all the way to UWF.

    Of course, as this blog has mentioned before(like, 2005), the lines seem to have been drawn by an agitated badger. The airport sits very close to the border. The whole county uses the Airport, and if this project ever materializes people who currently live in the county will commute to work there. Undoubtedly, many who moved here to take a job there would end up buying land in the county. And for any new business that company generated, same same. I totally understand why the county would be wary of the Port, and I see why(though disagree) with their views about supporting Palafox St and the downtown core. I feel like the Airport should be the common ground we can all rally around.

    Speaking of, why does PSC not have a building dedicated to training people in aerospace? It’s across the street from an airport in the cradle of aviation. C’mon, now.

  • dot November 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

    maybe they have a different map than i do. mine shows the airport is also in escambia county?

  • CJ Lewis November 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    A great use for that approximately one acre piece of land would be a small park or public garden. Perhaps the City could use some of its Local Option Sales Tax money being spent to subsidize the Executive Branch’s operations could instead be used to preserve the “green space” at that corner. In theory, the Planning Board works for and exists to serve the City Council who appoints the members of the Planning Board. Does anyone on the City Council, or the City Council Staff that serves at the pleasure of Mayor Hayward, pay attention to the Planning Board? The Planning Board agendas are on the Internet. Does anyone read them? Item #3 on the Planning Board’s November 12 Agenda is very clearly about this piece of property. The very clever (devious) part about the written rezoning request from East Hill Baptist Church is that it never once mentions “Dollar General.” I assume that East Hill Baptist Church already had a contract with Dollar General before this matter went before the Planning Board. The potential uses in the C-1 zoning district are spelled very clearly out in black and white to include a Motel/Hotel, Car Wash, Movie Theaters, Pest Extermination Services, etc. The Planning Board apparently thinks this zoning change is a great idea and in the best interests of the City and its people. I assume that Mayor Hayward’s Planning Services Department Staff, who serve at his pleasure, think so too. Hayward must be very pleased with himself and his Staff. Here’s a better idea. Keep the zoning as it is and let East Hill Baptist Church sell the land. If Dollar General, a Car Wash, a Pest Extermination Service or a sleazy short-time Motel buys the land, the new owners can request a zoning change from the City Council if they feel lucky.

  • Eric November 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The county needs to realize that investment in Pensacola, especially near the airport and mall, is an investment in itself. It’s been a longtime goal to kickstart this industry in Pensacola. Does it not go without saying that a big reason we picked aerospace is because local kids who joined the military and would like to return home, current military residents, and the recently discharged live in this county and would like to be able to continue to do so without having to work at AutoZone(there is nothing wrong with AutoZone, but it’s not an aircraft mechanic or engineer’s dream job).

    That being said, if there isn’t another way to attain the funds, figure out how to pay it back and make the proper promises and handshakes. We’ve chased off a Tampa of investors over the past 30 years, can we please make something important happen for once. Please.

  • Mark Taylor November 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Jeeperman, quite possibly they have poked a hole, I am not sure. Hatch Mott McDonald is the engineering firm that served as the “owners rep” during construction and is the engineering firm doing the investigating now as to the cause. They have been working on it for a few weeks. I’m sure we will hear more from their findings at our next meeting in December. Thanks.

  • jeeperman November 25, 2013 at 6:37 am

    So no one has yet to poke a hole in the liner to see what comes out?
    Either gonna be water or gases ain’t it?
    Which would eliminate a bunch of speculating as to the cause.
    If it is gaseous, maybe somebody does not want that to be found.