Pensacola: Morris Court and Tanyard topics of Fricker meeting

Pensacola City Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn met with her District 7 constituents Wednesday at Fricker Resource Center to primarily discuss what should be done about the troubled Morris Court playground, but the city’s stormwater construction also came up.

Residents complain about unsupervised youth in the park fighting, shooting guns, using drugs,breaking into nearby homes and businesses and a rash of other bad behavior.

Cannada-Wynn said the park has “outlived its usefullness.”

Anita Powell, who lives across from the playground, said she has called police many times.

“It’s dangerous,” she said. “You never know when gun fire is going to come out. I call the city police office over and over and over again.”

One possible solution that citizens focused on was the city allowing the Pensacola Area Housing Commission to build about two dozen one-room, one floor apartments for seniors and the homeless.

Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May has told Inweekly that he does not support adding more low-income housing in Morris Court. Other communities have done away with large housing projects. He suggested Area Housing invest in better lighting and secure the playground, which is next to Morris Court administrative building, after hours.

Councilwoman Cannada-Wynn reluctantly allowed Dr. Gloria Horning and other Tanyard residents to speak after gathering input from a handful of residents who live in Morris Court, but it wasn’t without a struggle.

Horning interrupted the meeting at the end and refused a command by Cannada-Wynn to sit down. She said Tanyard residents’ health is at risk from contaminants from an old Escambia County mosquito control facility and from the large holes dug for stormwater that lack fencing.

“No one asked Tanyard residents when Corrine Jones Park was torn out,” Horning said. “Our kids are still there. They’re just playing in the street. They’re playing in a hazardous situation. But no one is asking them what they want or what they need. I hope all the city councilmembers and all the county commissioners come listen to us.”

Horning pointed at Cannada-Wynn and shouted angrily: “Not once have you gone to ask (residents) what they want to see in their neighborhood. You haven’t answered one of my emails.”

Marilyn Wiggins, the Tanyard Neighborhood Association president and 40-year resident of the area, said many of her neighbors are angry about how the city is conducting the project after a four-month delay

“Our children are playing in a toxic area,” Wiggins said. “You don’t want to wake up Sunday morning to all those trucks. The city needs to consider what it’s doing because people are living there.”



2 thoughts on “Pensacola: Morris Court and Tanyard topics of Fricker meeting

  1. Well, one ironic twist is that only a few months ago in September before being elected Cannada-Wynn voted in support of an annual budget that twice mentions “Morris Court” Park and pencils in $90,000 for park improvements. It is hard to see how she can now suddenly claim with a straight face that the park has outlived its usefulness. There seems plenty of good stuff here for a real investigative reporter to write a good story to include sorting out the crime situation in and around the park, to include filtering out which is related to the park and which is not, and objectively assessing the condition of the park. Many years ago Ray Davis was out in Eastgate Park across the street from my house. He had a clipboard and told me that he had just returned from a course about inspecting parks. There must be a thick file about Morris Court Park that can be discovered through the public records process describing everything done or not done there and why. It should be easy to sort out what is broken at Morris Court Park that needs fixing and how much it would cost and how long it would take to get the job done. If the city will not do the work perhaps the county could do it using LOST money mindful that all of the city is “in” the county, a point most people forget about. A longer term option might be for parts of the city long ignored to vote to leave the city and take their chances with Escambia County. State law provides a process for citizens to petition to leave the City of Pensacola. Quint Studer has described the “west side” of the city as a “powder keg.” Imagine if the entire area west of “A” Street voted to leave the City of Pensacola. In addition to getting rid of Cannada-Wynn, Escambia County and its CRA could then begin to deal with the slum & blight issues in a more coherent manner. Right now, for example, the area around Morris Court is caught in the middle with a County Commissioner (Lumon May) who cares about it and a City Councilwoman (Jewell Cannada-Wynn) who does not. We have similar issues all along the northern frontier of the city with most of District 1 and parts of District 2 a forgotten zone with some parts closer to Pace than to city hall. It will be interesting to see if anyone shows up to speak to the Morris Court Park issue during Public Forum before tonight’s City Council meeting. If he keeps to his usual routine, Mayor Hayward will not be there and neither will City Administrator Olson who has worked out a routine of staying out of sight until the public has spoken before deciding to grace everyone with his presence.

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