The City of Pensacola has come a LONG way in the last five years. We’ve moved the wastewater plant away from downtown, have a beautiful Maritime Park with a professional baseball team, and there’s always something interesting to get into on South Palafox. Did I mention the beach? I seriously love living here.
I’m so appreciative of the people who have recognized Pensacola’s potential and continue to invest in our community. Not only visionaries like Quint Studer, Collier Merrill, Ashton Hayward and Robert Rinke but also the small business owners and young professionals who are the heartbeat of the upward movement. I see you and thank you!
The downside of Pensacola to me would be the high crime rate and drugs that flood the streets these days. It’s beyond disappointing seeing childhood friends who have fallen into a life of drugs and crime. Especially the ones who I know in my heart are good people but have let their poor decisions crush dreams and ruin lives. Robbing and stealing not only from strangers but even from friends and family. We have a very serious problem on our hands. I commend the city for taking measures to combat the issue by beefing up the police force and the number of neighborhood watch groups. The crime rate is down slightly but we still have a long way to go.
I’d like to take a more proactive approach to the problem. There are 93 public parks within the city limits. Most of which are filled with monkey bars, see-saws and slides, but where do the kids go when the merry-go-round just isn’t fun anymore? These parks are great for young kids and families, but don’t hold the attention of most kids past their early teens. Of the 93 parks, there are two free “skateparks.” Although I appreciate the thought, both of these parks are very poorly designed by people who know nothing about skateboarding. Skaters get bored with these parks just like the merry-go-round and hit the streets looking for interesting spots to skate. Problem is skating is illegal most everywhere and people generally don’t appreciate skaters on their property.
It’s time for the community to unite around our city’s forgotten youth and provide a safe and positive environment for them to express themselves and have fun. I am proposing a community plaza that is designed not just for children but for the older kids as well. A place to ride a skateboard, kick a ball, cruise on a bike, enjoy music or simply enjoy being outside with friends. This concept has been implemented in countless cities with much success in recent years. Believe it or not, most skaters would much prefer a plaza type environment with a thoughtful layout and artistic features rather than a traditional “skatepark” anyway. I’ll provide some photos below so you can start to visualize what something like this could do for our beautiful city.
I am working on a plan to start making steps toward the goal of a community plaza. My next post will begin to outline the actions that need to be taken to make this a reality. Let’s unite and keep the upside movement rolling.