Bayview Community Center plans show allocation of space

In the RFP, the proposed Bayview Community Center is described as “a new one-story, 18,000-square foot facility with parking, landscape and exterior concrete walkways. Facility functional spaces include meeting and exercise rooms, rental multifunction spaces and storage for water-based equipment, including the rental and storage of kayaks, rowing shells and paddleboards.”

The drawings show the center has three buildings.

Building one has a lobby/reception area, two small offices, a 1,000 sq. ft. fitness area and three small meeting rooms that are about 500 sq. ft. each. That building is connected to another building that has a small catering kitchen (402 sq. ft.) and an event space (3,391 sq. ft.).

The third building is the boathouse that has a small office, two restrooms and 4,214 sq. ft. for boat storage.

By function the space is allocated as follows:

Boat Storage – 4,214 sq. ft.
Event Space – 3,391 sq. ft.
Meeting Space – 1,584 sq. ft.
Fitness Area – 1,000 sq. ft.
Lobby/Reception – 729 sq. ft.
Offices – 435 sq. ft.
Catering – 402 sq. ft.

The rest of the center includes restrooms, general storage, hallways and mechanical.

Does the allocation of space in the proposed center agree with the needs and desires of District 4 and the rest of the city–particularly at a price tag of nearly $9.6 million?

We will learn in two weeks whether Mayor Ashton Hayward has reexamined the project in light of the huge jumps in cost. If not, he should at least explain the decision process behind abandoning the 2011 master plan and the addition of the boathouse.

The public should also know the operational budget for the facility.

BTW:Sanders Beach Community Center event space is 6,110 sq. ft.

The Theophalis May Resource Center at Legion Field is 15,446 sq. ft. The center has a gym/auditorium, two classrooms, kitchen facilities and neighborhood branch library. Cost $3 million.

In 2011, Mayor Ashton Hayward, with the support of the Pensacola City Council, commissioned a master plan for Bayview Park. After a series of public meetings, the plan was presented and adopted. Of the citizens surveyed seven years ago, no one brought up the need for a boathouse. However, a boat launch area, boat trailer parking and swimming areas received a lot of votes under Recreation Areas (page 33).

Kayak/canoe/paddle boat rentals received 14 votes for items needed, but that item trailed Park benches (31), Kids’ water play area (18), Pavilion/picnic tables (18), Music & entertainment platform (17), Fenced dog park (17), Shaded gathering areas (18), BBQ grilles (17), Amphitheater (16) and Restrooms (29).

The master plan had the community resource center as an addition to the senior center, which would have opened the waterfront for the community to enjoy.


1 thought on “Bayview Community Center plans show allocation of space

  1. In 2016, District 4 Councilman Larry Johnson complained to me about his East Hill constituents whining that the city was abandoning the city’s 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan. Johnson told me that he was the biggest supporter of the city’s African-American community and that they were the ones who wanted the new community center built, not the 2011 concept for a combined senior center/community center that I would think a bit better if it include a small neighborhood library. Johnson could not explain to me why ECAT did not run to or even near Bayview Park. Will there be direct routes sponsored by the city so that west side African-Americans can visit the new community in District 4 that has few African-Americans and only 2.6% African-American voters. As I have pointed out many times, in 2011 Johnson expressed his concern to the city’s Districting Commission about “the racial mix” in District 4 emphasizing that the “majority of my constituents are Caucasian or white.” As part of its overall racial and incumbent protection gerrymandering efforts, the Districting Commission handpicked by the City Council slimed up a plan that further reduced the already small percentage of African-Americans in District 4 by 30%. Now comes Mayor Ashton Hayward saying the project he wants in opposition to the city’s 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan is being built for all “socioeconomic groups.” To be clear, it is not. However, if this project, a project that one councilmember told me will likely cost closer to $12 million when paid for, is what the people of East Hill and District 4 want, then let them pay for it. The $11-12 million can then be better spent elsewhere in the city. All the City Council has to do is adopt an ordinance creating a Bayview Park Community Center Special District. People living within lets say 1/2 mile of Bayview Park, the people who will use the park the most, can then vote to pay an additional property tax upon the already shockingly high taxes paid by people who live in the city. If they do not want to pay for this gold-plated facility that will mostly be used for catered high-brown and black tie events for the cocktail society types and for a private boathouse for a $35 dollar a month membership rowing club, then the city can stick with the original plan approved in 2011 before Hayward decided he was going to put his house at the northeast corner of the park up for sale for $1.9 million.

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