Groundbreaking ceremony for $8.2-million community center on May 7

City of Pensacola will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the $8.2-million Bayview Resource Center at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 7 at Bayview Park, 2000 East Lloyd St.

“We are very excited for this new resource center at Bayview Park,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward in a written statement. “My staff and I have worked tirelessly to bring another extraordinary amenity to our community. This new attractive facility will embrace the waterfront and will be something that everyone can enjoy.”

The facility will have an event space that can be separated into two smaller spaces, meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, fitness room, and staff offices. Its decks and balconies will offer views of Bayou Texar. The new Bayview Community Center is approximately two-thirds the size of Sanders Beach Community Center, which has a ballroom that overlooks Pensacola Bay and can hold 350 people.

The event space of the new Bayview Community Center will accommodate up to 278 people and is 3,432 square feet. The Sanders Beach ballroom is nearly double that size at 6,110 square feet.

The Bayview Community Center will have a storage area for kayak, SUP, and rowing sculls to promote paddle sports and non-motorized water activities. The Pensacola Rowing Association is in discussion with the city to run it.

The old community center was damaged by a sewage backup caused by April 2014 flooding and demolished the following year. The 2011 park master plan called for relocating the center to give an open waterfront. The plan was ignored, and the new building will be in the same location as the previous one.

The Bayview Community Center will be the most expensive community center ever built in the city. The last two centers – Woodland Heights and Theophalis May – built cost $3 million each.

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1 thought on “Groundbreaking ceremony for $8.2-million community center on May 7

  1. As a reminder, the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan put together with lots of citizen input determined that it was not a good idea to rebuilt the old Bayview Community Center in its current location, a facility that had long been mostly unused. The plan found that the best idea was to renovate and expand the existing Bayview Park Senior Center. The area where the old Bayview Park Community Center stood was to be made into an open area theatre to maximize public access to the waterfront. When Councilwoman Myers proposed rebuilding Fire Station #3, Mayor Hayward got with Councilman Terhaar and Councilman Johnson to hold the fire station project hostage to a new Bayview Park Community Center contrary to the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan. It was a comedy of errors with members skipping meetings and showing up late such that when Councilman Wingate proposed taking up the Fire Station #3 project separately from the Bayview Park Community Center project, the vote failed for a lack of votes. I recall Councilman Wu complaining that he felt as if he were being held hostage forced to chose between support for the firefighters and going along on the Hayward/Terhaar/Johnson boondoggle that directly benefits Hayward whose house is next to Bayview Park and Johnson who lives nearby. When one of the councilmember raised concerns that the proposed new Bayview Park Community Center was in conflict with the 2011 Bayview Park Master Plan, Johnson said that the 2011 plan was “no good.” This is the same Johnson who habitually complains to include publishing a viewpoint in the PNJ whining that the city government does not follow its own plans. When I ran into Johnson in Sam’s Club in March 2016, he spewed venom about the people in East Hill who were opposed to the Hayward/Terhaar/Johnson Bayview Park Community Center. Johnson told me that the center had to be rebuilt because that is what the city’s African-American community wanted. Yes, he actually said that the city’s African-American community demanded it be rebuilt. I recently saw a city document reference to the Bayview Park Senior Center. Apparently, it is to be rebuilt too. All the above shows how bad the city government operates to include that the proposed Bayview Park Community Center as now planned is actually smaller than the project first brought before the Council and at much greater cost. At any time, a majority of the Council could have voted to stop construction of the Bayview Park Community Center without hindering the rebuild of Fire Station #3. The fact that they have been afraid to do so tells you how they are impotent. As a reminder, there are NO community centers or senior centers in District 2.

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