For $99,000, Mayor Ashton Hayward has hired Moffatt & Nichols to solicit citizen input and help create a vision for the future of the Port of Pensacola.
That’s sweet and will generate a lot of pretty drawings, but that isn’t the study that the Pensacola City Council approved in September 2016. The council expected a more in-depth, comprehensive analysis of the port—a study built on hard data and facts.
At the council meeting that approved the study, Councilwoman Sherri Myers, who proposed the study, said, “There would be a very comprehensive study of the port and various alternatives and a strategy moving forward either to make the port better or to figure out what is the highest and best use of the land.”
This study is not comprehensive and will leave us with more questions than answers.
The first step before we look at alternatives is to figure what would it take to shutdown the port and make it available for other development:
- Environmental analysis
- Soil analysis – will the land need to be raised to the same height of the Community Maritime Park (13 feet), can it support a six-story condo or hotel?
- Stormwater issues
- Any obligations tied to state and federal funds used for the port.
- Buyouts of current contracts
- Demolition issues
Once the issues are answered, then we need to have a timeline. I’ve been told it could take as much as 10 years to unravel the port, closed it and make it available for other projects.
We don’t need a vision for the port. We need facts – which is what the council thought it would get two years ago when it approved the funding.
The mayor drug his feet on doing the study and is wasting a hundred grand.