Pensacola, Florida Mayor Ashton Hayward's Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee Final Report
92 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2012
Date Written: October 31, 2012
The Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee presents this Report to Mayor Ashton Hayward and the citizens of Pensacola.
Earlier this year, Mayor Hayward — Pensacola’s first strong mayor after the City adopted a new Charter in 2009 — established the Committee with the hope that it would serve as a catalyst for creating improvements in downtown Pensacola. The Mayor assembled seven Pensacola residents of diverse experience, each of whom share a genuine commitment to the community. The Mayor charged us with a sweeping mandate to create a realistic vision for the continued redevelopment of Pensacola’s Community Redevelopment Agency District, including downtown, the waterfront, and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Mayor tasked us with crafting a plan of action to: Build a competitive community; Replenish the Community Redevelopment Agency’s income through new capital investment; Productively use the large inventory of public land; Create jobs and a sustainable future for the community; Create a walkable community by increasing mixed-use density; Ensure that opportunities created and resources expended benefit all; Create a waterfront that is a thriving public space; Create housing with a wide spectrum of affordability; Restore the authentic, historic character of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Committee first convened in February 2012 and met publicly 15 times over the next eight months. In pursuing our mandate, we sought to be independent, impartial, objective, and thorough. To that end, over 40 presenters — and dozens of citizens — addressed the Committee as a whole. We reviewed thousands of pages of documents and consulted with hundreds of individuals. This Report summarizes the Committee’s conclusions.
The Committee’s principal findings consist of over 75 specific policy recommendations, and over 50 action items. While these recommendations cover a variety of topics, our recommended strategies may be summarized in three broad categories: Progress is vital. First and foremost, this Report recognizes that the proper development of downtown Pensacola is vital to the economic, social, commercial, and cultural progress of the Florida Panhandle; Progress will be entrepreneurial. Private investment will drive progress downtown. Plans for improvement should properly consider the risk and market factors that drive private investment; Progress will be incremental. The findings in this Report are intended to support an incremental approach to progress. Sustainable, long-term solutions must be highly adaptable to changing commercial and social conditions over time.
These recommendations are aspirational. We fully expect that the Mayor will — as he should — focus on recommendations he believes to be the most important and which can make the greatest difference. We have provided a wide assortment of recommendations so that our leaders may pick and choose as if ordering from a menu. This approach will allow our community to select the vital few rather than focus on the trivial many. The Report presents not only a vision of what we believe downtown Pensacola can realistically become in three to five years, but also specific policy recommendations to implement that vision. We sincerely hope that this Report will assist the Mayor with his efforts to move forward with the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Pensacola.
In making these recommendations, we are mindful that our Report is not the first attempt to articulate and implement such a vision. Others — such as the Community Redevelopment Agency — have provided intelligent and insightful plans to improve our community, and we acknowledge a debt to them. We believe our findings are consistent with, and indeed provide a comprehensive framework for implementing, those plans.
We do not presume to have exhausted every resource or possibility. The questions are complex, and invite many potential solutions. New ideas and circumstances constantly arise. But we believe this Report presents a compelling path forward for the future of downtown Pensacola.
Keywords: urban renewal, redevelopment, Pensacola, Florida, downtown, progress, revitalization, municipal government, case studies, economic development policy
JEL Classification: R50, R00, R58, R52, R53, R59, R51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation