Ballsy Plan for Mayor Hayward

On Monday, City CFO Dick Barker told the Pensacola City Council that the city has the funds to pay for the construction of a $10-million community center and boathouse in Bayview Park.

Money isn’t an issue. The issue is should the city spend all of that $10 million on a facility in neighborhood park.

Inweekly has a ballsy plan for Mayor Ashton Hayward:

1) Withdraw the agenda item to award the contract and ask the council to reduce the budget for the project back to its original allocation – $6.05 million.

2) Recommend the following five projects to be fast-tracked – budget allocations are very rough:

a) Purchase the building on the corner of Belmont and Devilliers that Rev. Powell has tried to make into the Truth for Youth Belmont Building. Demolish the building and solicit Requests for Proposals for a mixed-use building (s) on the site. A condition of the agreement is a significant portion of the first floor will be leased to Rev. Powell or non-profit for the center. Non-profit leases space for $1/year and pays operating costs of the center. Estimate: $1 million – Note: I’ve been told Rev. Powell has an plan that makes multiple uses for the property. The $1 million could be used as a match for RESTORE funds.

b) Develop the waterfront of Bruce Beach into a public park –extend UWF Historic Maritime Trail, add historical markers, create launch for kayaks, paddle boards and others, add parking area [northern section can be offered for development]. The mayor’s office said it had a grant to do this so the city may only have to match a portion of the grant. Estimate: $500,000

c) Build the Blake Doyle Skatepark. Estimate: $1 million

d) Develop more youth soccer fields. Estimate: $500,000

e) Build or lease space for a senior center that can be shared by Districts 1, 2 and 3. The city has 9,460 registered voters over the age of 65, 4,617 (48.8%) live in those three districts. The city’s only senior center is in Bayview Park. Estimate: $1 million


The ballsy plan spreads the $4 million intended for one district across the city and meets the needs for the African-American community, youth, seniors, skateboarders and nature lovers. It creates tourist attractions – Bruce Beach, Blake Doyle Skatepark and Belmont Building.


4 thoughts on “Ballsy Plan for Mayor Hayward

  1. All very good points. Council just needs to sit back and wait on this one. It smells too much like a Johnson/Hayward. CJ states public safety should be a priority. The city is now the lowest paid police department in the area. They are almost thirty officers down. Yes, thirty. And more are leaving every week. The officers they have left are trying to negotiate a pay increase to stay compatible. The city states they do not have the money. But Dick can find it! Hayward wants to leave you with a hole that will take a decade to fill. Don’t be a fool with our money.

  2. The best plan is to stick to the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan. Just looking at one piece of that plan, it called for the Senior Center to be renovated and expanded. That seems like a perfectly reasonable plan. The City has issued an RFP only to renovate the Senior Center, in addition to Hayward trying to jam through his Hayward/Johnson Community Center/Event Center/ Boathouse project that is way over budget and looks more “Hayward House” than “East Hill.” The City could task the architect that put together the 2011 plan to develop a plan to: 1) renovate the Senior Center; and 2) expand it to include more community center functions as described in the plan. However, implementing the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan is not a high priority when weighted against all the other unmet needs in the city. Public safety issues should be at the top of the list. That means accelerating the plan to fix the West Cervantes Street Corridor. You would have to be very cruel-hearted to say aloud let alone think that an event center or boathouse in Bayview Park is higher priority than safe streets. Next, District 2 does not have anything. How about a combined Community Center/Senior Center in District 2? Families with children are fleeing the city because of the high crime and bad schools as shown in the results of the 2010 Census that showed a 25% reduction in the city’s school age (5-17) population. A Senior Center on the west side and maybe another in Belmont DeVilliers would be a good idea. Nothing good is ever going to come of playing politics with Local Option Sales Tax dollars. An idea I have mentioned several time to City Council members is to appoint a LOST Commission made up of citizens one voter in each district appointed by each City Council member. Let the LOST Commission objectively assess the future needs of the city and put forth a plan that looks not at each project but overall how they fit together. As an example of a project that could easily be overlooked in the current rush to spend money before Hayward and Johnson cash-in, we need a fire station in East Pensacola Heights. That too would seem a higher priority than a boathouse for a private rowing club that charges $35 a month to belong. So far, it looks like four of the mayoral candidates are all for the Hayward/Johnson plan to include the two who participated in the fake groundbreaking ceremony (Robinson/Mayo) or cannot speak (Powell/Green) leaving Buchanan as the only candidate with enough common sense to say that we need to stop this dumb project.

  3. The Mayor is trying to make commitments that will encumber the City long past his term. Also, Reverend Powell had better be careful in dealing with the mayor and the City. After he shakes the mayor’s hand he better count his fingers.

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