Grover’s big leadership challenge

The announcement that Baptist Health Care is building a $550 million hospital facility on Brent Lane and leaving west Pensacola poses a big leadership challenge for Mayor Grover Robinson.

Yes, Robinson helped to find funds to complete the MRO campus at the Pensacola International Airport, has worked with SCI to develop a redevelopment plan for downtown’s waterfront and has negotiated with the YMCA for a soccer complex–but his predecessor started all of those projects.

Can Mayor Robinson harness the development and business communities as well as the school district, and county, state and federal governments to come up with a plan and the funding to revitalize the huge tract of land bordered by Moreno and E street areas?

Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into downtown since Mayor Ashton Hayward completed the Community Maritime Park. What will Mayor Robinson do to create a similar catalyst to launch the west side’s renaissance?

It’s relatively easy to promote downtown with its history and beautiful waterfront. Can the mayor develop a transformative vision for west Pensacola?

Few elected officials have the opportunity to create a generational change in a neighborhood. The Baptist property gives Robinson that chance to do it.

Is Grover up to the challenge?