New Greenway proposed

The city of Pensacola has several greenways centered on stormwater projects. It could be in line to get another one if a Pensacola City Council member gets her way.

Councilwoman Sherri Myers gave a presentation this week during council’s agenda review session concerning the creation of a park-like area off of 12th Avenue, a short distance from the Pensacola International Airport.

“This has to do with creating a green space in the north end of the city,” Myers began her presentation at city hall. “We have a lot of nice green spaces, like nice stormwater parks, but they’re all in this area. But we don’t have on in the north end of the city.”

Providing her fellow council members with a map of the area near the corner of 12th and Market Place Road — “this gives you some kind of landmarks, it’s close to the Bonefish Grill” — Myers called attention to the numerous construction projects occurring in the vicinity, then to the stormwater pond tucked behind a chainlink fence.

“Now, a lot of people don’t even know this stormwater exists. It use to be a borrow pit,” Myers said, describing the area behind the fence as “a huge pond with a very large right of way.”

The councilwoman suggested using the sizable right of way circling the stormwater pond to create a walking path, complete with a sidewalk.

“On Market Place, the right of way is big enough to put a sidewalk and a lot of beautiful vegetation,” Myers said.

Along 12th Avenue there’s already a sidewalk. As for completing a loop around the pond, Myers said that would be a longer term goal: “This would be a work in progress, we have not allocated any funds for a sidewalk here.”

The councilwoman, who said she was working with Mayor Grover Robinson on a proposal to bring forth to council, did not get into funding particulars of the potential green space project. She did note the nearby construction — “so, there’s a lot of trees that are being cut down for these developments” — and say some of the money could come from the city’s tree trust fund, but also said the project would take additional funding as well.

Myers told city council that it would be essential to get the buy-in of businesses located near the potential greenway site. She suggested they be approached to financially sponsor items such as park benches and planters.

“To make this project successful, we really want a lot of the businesses involved,” the councilwoman said, describing an ideal scenario as a “public private partnership.”

In addition to transforming a currently fenced-off stormwater retention pond into a green space for people to gather and stroll, Myers also said that this potential project would have other benefits built into it. Specifically, she said, the area would serve as a habitat for pollinators.

“What we hope to do with this is to make this whole area, especially here on Market Place, is make it a pollinator and butterfly habitat,” Myers explained. “So, everything that would be planted here would be native and also a lot of it would attract butterflies and pollinators.”

Such pollinators would likely include bees. Myers reminded council that a bee keeping organization keeps hives on the airport property.

“There are a lot of bees at the airport,” she said. “And [airport director] Dan Flynn is always looking for a place to plant wildflowers.”