City of Pensacola

City of Pensacola

Registration is underway for the 2016 Pensacola Citizens’ Academy. The academy is a nine-week look at city government and its departments and it kicks off May 17 and goes through July 12. The course is free, and interactive.

“Totally hands-on, meaning it’s not just sitting around and listening to talking heads,” said organizer Helen Gibson. “We’ve got tours, we’ve got demonstrations.”

The concept is from the city’s Neighborhood Division. When Ashton Hayward was elected mayor in 2010, he made the academies a priority.

The Fish House restaurant in downtown Pensacola has emerged from a legal challenge with its lease intact. However, there remains one more fight in the case.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Scott Duncan ruled that Fish House owner Collier Merrill’s sub-lease of the Pitts Slip property from business partner Ray Russenberger was immune from having to pay the city up to five million dollars in additional rent and interest.

Photo via Instagram//user @beautifulpensacola

More than two years after the initial filing, a lawsuit against the City of Pensacola involving the land on which the Fish House Restaurant sits may be close to resolution.

Circuit Judge Scott Duncan held a six-hour hearing on the case in January. Fish House owner Collier Merrill says their argument then was the same as it’s been all along, concerning the lease for the city-owned property call Pitt Slip, on which The Fish House and Atlas Oyster House sit.

Sandra Averhart

Governor Rick Scott met with local officials and the media on Wednesday, to discuss the aftermath of the twister that devastated some neighborhoods in Pensacola the previous night.

The Governor has issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties as a result of the tornado, which damaged more than 100 homes, in addition to the 24 apartments at the Moorings on Old Spanish Trail which were destroyed.

Dave Dunwoody

The next step in efforts to get Amtrak service back to Pensacola rolled into the city Friday morning, and the crowd greeting the “Inspection Train” appeared to be part pep rally and part revival meeting.

On a chilly but otherwise “Chamber of Commerce” day, the train made its entrance from the west, where it had originated Thursday in New Orleans. There to greet it was a crowd – some in period costumes – in front of what was the Amtrak station before service was ended 12 years ago.

Steve Hayes, the President of Visit Pensacola, and served as Master of Ceremonies

studeri.org

Pensacola City Administrator Eric Olson’s out with some details about two issues going on at City Hall. One involves the Fire Department, the other deals with personnel policy.

City Administrator Eric Olson says the issues are not related, despite some media reports to the contrary.

“I like to look at it like there are two boxes – one is a box labeled ‘Investigation,’ and another is a box labeled ‘HR Manual,’” said Olson. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re in anyway linked. They just arrived on the same day.”

Pensacola residents appreciate their law enforcement and parks, but are less pleased with transportation and infrastructure, according to a new citywide survey.

The University of West Florida’s Haas Business Center was commissioned by the city to conduct the telephone survey during the last quarter of 2015. A similar review was done the previous year, which project leader Amy Newburn says had more components.

The Pensacola City Council is going back to the drawing board and paying for a study to figure out what to do with some valuable city land. The city has been examining the two acre parcel of land in the Hawkshaw district which is bordered by Ninth Avenue and Romana Street in Pensacola. Last Monday, the Community Redevelopment Agency held a special meeting to vote on hiring a firm called Urban Design Associates to conduct a study and get public input on what would be the best use of the land. The study will cost $25,000.

Georgia Barrett / WUWF News

The debate over allowing food trucks in Pensacola may not be over, but those mobile businesses celebrated a milestone in downtown Pensacola Thursday.  

A.J. took some time out from chopping onions in the Cajun Meat Train food truck Thursday morning, getting ready for the first day of serving lunch in the parking lot of Pensacola City Hall. "[We're] feeling great and hoping it opens eyes to everyone around and we get to park in some more places around town. Hopefully something good comes out of it and I'm excited and optimistic."

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward recently dropped by the studio, for a chat with Dave Dunwoody to look ahead at the year in Pensacola governance.

DD: Mayor, before we look ahead to 2016, let’s look back at 2015. What do you consider to be some of the accomplishments in city government?

UWF

The City of Pensacola is partnering with a new non-profit to help recently discharged veterans transition to civilian life. "The partnership with Pensacola is one of we hope many in the area that we will have". Mark Harden is the Florida Region Director of Boots Up, a non-profit that was recently formed to help service members transition to civilian life. "The city of Pensacola has plenty of prior military that work for them. Many of those might want to be mentors for our transitioning military. Additionally (the city has) jobs.

Lindsay Myers

  The City of Pensacola has hired the first of possibly two assistant city administrators – selecting a high-profile figure from Escambia County government.

Keith Wilkins was among five finalists for the position. He’s worked for the county for the past 15 years, as the Director of the Community and Environment Department and most recently, Natural Resources Management. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward says he’ll be a good fit.

Ferry service on Pensacola Bay is moving full speed ahead towards a launch date of March, 2017.

The latest step forward is the National Park Service’s award of a contract to All-American Marine. The Washington state-based firm will design and build two aluminum double-decker Catamaran-style ferry boats, each with a capacity of 150-passengers.

Lindsay Myers

The short list of candidates for the assistant administrator for the City of Pensacola is out, and has gotten shorter. Final selections appear to be on the horizon.

City spokesman Vernon Stewart declined a request by WUWF for an interview with City Administrator Eric Olson, saying in an email Wednesday that the city was “close to making a decision on this.”

Reports have said that, instead of hiring both assistants, the city would hire one at the beginning. Mayor Ashton Hayward appears to be leaning that way, but adds that nothing is in concrete just yet.

  Pensacola wants just over two million dollars in RESTORE Act funding, to build a marina at Community Maritime Park.

Rebecca Ferguson, the city’s Economic Policy Coordinator, told the Community Maritime Parks Associates that the proposal is currently in draft form. The project title is “A Maritime Sports Tourism Development/Maritime Infrastructure Project.”

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