Councilwoman Diane Mack was able to push through the renaming of two blocks of north Alcaniz Street and making them part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. As an outgoing city council member, she is in a perfect to push through other initiatives for the minority community. Here is the checklist that I heard from black leaders:
1. Rename the rest of Alcaniz Street all the way to Bayfront Parkway. This is what the late Leroy Boyd was asking the council to do last year. I don’t ever remember him being that concerned about the two blocks on the north end of the street. I do think that this was bigger issue for Leroy than other African-American leaders, which may be why he later withdrew his petition.
2. Fund disparity study. Without an in-depth disparity study, the City can never set up a minority vendor inclusion program that will stand up to court challenges.
3. Fund Westside development plan. The City hired consultants and studied the redevelopment of west Pensacola for seven years. The council approved a plan and established a CRA district that has no revenue—-that was three years ago. If the city council doesn’t figure out how to fund the redevelopment soon, the studies and plans will become obsolete.
4. Parity in city services. Parks, streets, drainage, etc. –east Pensacola gets the riches, west Pensacola the leftovers. Last year, the City took $500,000 out of recreation for the west side and used for bathrooms for Roger Scott.
Renaming two little-traveled city blocks was picking the low hanging fruit….it’s time to get serious. Unfortunately, the election is only two weeks away and the Mack’s fellow council members may lose their motivation.