Mayor responds to Outtakes

Mayor Grover Robinson challenged my latest Outtakes column, “A True Connection,” which questioned whether he had really listened to the Scenic Heights neighborhood about a soccer complex being built on Langley Avenue.

“Are you serious that we have not listened to Scenic Heights?  We dramatically altered the design of the fields based on comments from the neighborhood,” wrote Mayor Robinson in a text message received Saturday morning.

“Look, no one in 4H was ever in favor of the sale. Now they have two amazing homes for both of their programs, a huge endowed scholarship fund and the community has 7,000 jobs. You can find anyone who would admit they were against it but they were. “

Robinson is referring to the controversial sale of 4H land in Beulah that made it possible for Navy Federal Credit Union to expand its campus.

The mayor said, “There are two fields there now. The Y has no intent to stay, which is the real issue behind Scenic Heights, and the soccer families who do voice their opinion need three fields.”

He said he had met with Melissa McKnight, a vocal Scenic Heights resident, on Friday, and that they are “real close” to an agreement.

“If YOU listen to their concerns, they do not want travel tournaments there. I told Brian yesterday no travel tournaments. They also want a park that has other uses.  We will continue and look for ways to add a splash pad.”

Mayor Robinson

The mayor repeated that he has been listening.

“All I’m asking is two years after this is complete, please tell me how many people will admit to you that they were against it,” said Robinson. “It is like the Maritime Park, 4H, you name the thing in Pensacola. We will always be against it until will see it benefited us and then we never ever said anything bad about. That is who we are as a community.”

He added that soccer fields already located behind Hitzman Park are the only two lighted soccer fields inside the city.

“There aren’t many choices for us,” the mayor wrote. “Again, this really isn’t about the three fields, this is about losing the Y and that happens independent of the city. I think it is starting to sink into the neighborhood that the Y is leaving regardless.”

“The city has one chance to keep them in NE Pensacola and that is Vickery. There is your story.”