Pensacola

Which is more important – a life or boathouse

January 18, 2018

My Outtakes column this week gives another example of how government has money to spend on the projects it wants. Others are delayed and “slow walked.” West Cervantes Street is a deathtrap for pedestrians and will continue to be one for another seven years, unless elected officials make it a priority. Meanwhile, the budget for a community center was increased $2 million without an objection from the city council.

People vs. Boathouse

On Friday, Jan. 5, Nancy Jean Jenkins, 55, was hit by a car while trying to cross West Cervantes Street near Attucks Court. She died the next morning. In March, Faith Shoemore, 39, walked onto Cervantes Street just east of H Street around 8 p.m. and was hit. She died a short time later.

Raymond Reese thinks both deaths were preventable if only Cervantes had better lighting. In April 2012, he nearly killed a child who wandered onto Cervantes around 7:30 p.m.

Read the rest on inweekly.net.

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  • CJ Lewis January 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    As a reminder, the city’s 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan – a plan put together by the Hayward Administration after receiving significant public input – called for expanding and renovating the Senior Center with no second facility. The plan called for the area to be occupied by the new Community Center to be open providing enhanced waterfront access. When I spoke to Councilman Johnson in March 2016, he told me that the new Community Center was wanted by the city’s African-American community. I doubt that. In that same discussion, Johnson told me that there was a popular upswelling of support for him to run for Mayor and he was going to do so. Again, I doubt it. (The last time I saw Johnson he emphasized that he did not read the “fake news” Ricks Blog or Inweekly though very oddly he had a copy of Inweekly in his hand.) During Council debate on the matter, Johnson who even has written a Viewpoint in the PNJ taking the city to task for ignoring its own plans said that the 2011 plan was, “No good.” Those were his exact words. I get it. His chief constituent Mayor Ashton Hayward who lives next to Bayview Park has his house up for sale and a new community center might be a nice selling point. The way that the new Bayview Community Center got on the agenda at all was a political ambush orchestrated by Hayward, Johnson and Councilman Terhaar. They tied it to the rebuild of Fire Station #3 saying it would save money borrowing the money for both projects at once, ignoring that the Bayview Park Community Center flies in the face of the Bayview Park Master Plan. To his credit, Councilman Wingate did see through the scheme and made a motion to consider Fire Station #3 and the Bayview Park Community Center as separate issues. As I recall, his motion failed 3-3 short one vote. Later, the size of the proposed community center was reduced and the cost increased. It would be interesting to know if the cost of construction really went up that much. The fact that Hayward and City Administrator Olson say so does not mean it is true. Both are well-known liars. All that said, the City Council is only as helpless as it wants to be. There is nothing to stop it from voting to withdraw the authorization to proceed with building a new Bayview Park Community Center. The City Council could then review the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan to find out if it really is “No good” as Johnson claims. I doubt it. In fact, I think it was a pretty good plan that reflected the benefit of extensive public input.

  • Sherri Myers January 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I agree the priorities of the city are not what they should be. I have complained for years about the lack of street lighting at the most heavily crossed intersection in the City – 9th and Bayou. There are no street lights in front of Sacred Heart on Bayou or 9th. A number of pedestrians have been hit by cars at night. Even with cross-walks it is extremely dangerous for pedestrians to cross the Bayou and 9th intersection at night. I don’t think this intersection was even included in the “city’s” so call lighting study. I brought the issue up at the last TPO meeting and FDOT officials said they will add lighting to the intersection as part of the Creighton Road improvement projects. No support from City Hall on these issues. Even though 9th and Bayou are state roads, they are in the city limits and should be provided with city street lights just like any other area of the city. We need leadership on the 7th floor on these very basis issue such as street lighting where there is signalized intersections – the number one priority for street lights per FDOT guidelines. And, yes Cervantes street should be a priority over a boathouse. Many of the people who use Cervantes are poor, and many do not have cars. They depend on their feet for transportation and they have to cross not only Cervantes, but Pace Blvd where there have been pedestrians hit and killed. Many of the fixes that are need to make streets safer are not expensive – just needs public officials to care.