Ground was broken Monday for the Bayview Resource Center at Bayview Park. Once the work begins, completion is expected to be in about a year and a half.
Covering 19,000 sq. ft., the facility will replace the old community center, which was damaged by a sewage backup in 2014 and demolished a year later, in the same footprint.
“I’ve been living in East Hill for 20 years, and I can’t tell you how excited we are to be given the opportunity to help frame what the future of Pensacola, the future of Bayview Park will be,” said Lead architect Michael Crawford, from Pensacola-based Caldwell Associates.
“This is not a park for just East Hill residents; this is a true community park that I think will be a game-changer and on the tour that perspective families will come in and look at,” Crawford said.
About 3,400 sq. ft. will be dedicated to a community center, which can be separated into two smaller event spaces. Also under the new roof will be meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, fitness room, staff offices, and a large open lobby.
“Today is about all of you; this is what makes great. And when you talk about parks and place-making, that’s what Bayview Park is,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward, who told those gathered that among the city’s 93 public parks, Bayview stands out.
“So many memories have been built at Bayview,” Hayward said. “Whether it’s your children; your grandchildren, your family that’s visiting from somewhere else,” said Hayward. “It’s extremely important. And this is what life’s all about is creating those memories.”
Outside the facility will be multiple decks and balconies offering views of the waterfront. Also, space for storage of kayak, stand-up paddles, and rowing sculls to provide for paddle sports and non-motorized water activities.
“When you talk about building great cities, architecture is such an important part of that,” said the Mayor. “This was about building something that everyone was going to say, ‘wow.’”
The Bayview Senior Center will remain in its current location next to the new community center, and will see relief from crowding as well as improved access to parking.
At $8.2 million, provided through the Local Option Sales Tax, the facility will be the most expensive community center ever built in Pensacola. The last two, Woodland Heights and Theophalis May, cost about $3 million each.