pensacola beach

IHMC

As an old editorial writer, I’m accustomed to offering criticism. But the necessary flip side of criticism is to offer praise when you think something is done properly. Anyway, some time ago I offered the opinion that planners working on fixing decades-old traffic problems on Pensacola Beach were stuck in the mud. They avoided addressing the fundamental problems by tinkering ineffectively around the edges. The result of this lack of imagination, I warned, would be a continuation of ongoing...

Plans to begin ferry service between downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens are still set for next spring, but have been pushed back a few weeks. Next March was the original target date to launch the two boats and the triangular routes, but Dan Brown, Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, says some of the components of the service are meeting some challenges and delays. “We’re at this point looking at a startup date probably in mid-May,” Brown said. “To capture the...

IHMC

Over more than 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Pensacola News Journal, I watched certain community issues that never seemed to go away. Everyone agreed on the problem, but no one could agree on a solution. So we debated the problem, over and over. One such evergreen issue is traffic on Pensacola Beach. Actually, it’s two problems. Traffic, and parking. I see no real solution for parking. This area is growing, and tourism is growing. What isn’t growing is the size of the beach. There...

Jonathaon Beebe-Franqui

The numbers are in and by all counts, the Memorial Day beach cleanup program on Santa Rosa Island conducted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community was a resounding success. It’s a tall order to clean up after an estimated 75,000 people around the clock over a three-day period. But PSouth Operation Beach Clean organizer Dwayne Beebe-Franqui says everything was “fantastic.” “The best part about it was when we arrived at 6:00 in the morning on Monday [May 30], honestly there...

Courtesy of PSouth

A beach cleanup project during the annual LGBT Beach Reunion during Memorial Day Weekend – at Pensacola Beach and Park East is aimed at keeping the sand and water beautiful during and just after the holiday. More than 75,000 people – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – are expected to gather on the beach, mainly in the Park East section of Santa Rosa Island. And when a crowd that size forms – gay or straight – there’s a vast amount of debris that’s left behind. That’s where PSouth...

IHMC

Having lived almost all of my life in Northwest Florida, I can’t really speak to how it is to live in other places. But the variety of lifescapes offered by this area must be hard to beat. That is underscored by our recent move from rural Garcon Point to urbanized Pensacola Beach. The culture shock could hardly be overstated. Currently, my wife and I plan to eventually build on the edge of downtown Pensacola to take advantage of what has become a remarkably vibrant city center. Being able to...

FDOT

Soon you make not have to go searching for a dollar bill to get to Pensacola Beach: b eginning May 31 st , the Bob Sykes Bridge, connecting Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach, will begin accepting Sun Pass for the one dollar toll. David Forte is the Division Manager for Transportation and Traffic Operations at the Escambia County Department of Public Works. He says the project has been in the works for a while. "Back in about 2014, the U.S. government had a mandate that all toll plazas...

Photo via Flickr// Jandy Stone / https://flic.kr/p/gXJzd

In case you missed the first one, another lifeguard tryout is scheduled for April 30 by the Santa Rosa Island Authority. Candidates are asked to be at the UWF Aquatic Center a little before 1:00 p.m. on that Saturday, to fill out the paperwork for a possible spot at Pensacola or Johnson Beaches. “We hold tryouts several times throughout the year, such as gearing up for the start of summer in May,” said Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson. “Some people are out of town or in school or college during...

Photo via Flickr//Ben Ferenchak

Aspiring lifeguards should mark Saturday, January 30 on their calendars, for tryouts to work at Pensacola Beach. Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson is making the call to join him at 6:30 that morning at the University of West Florida Aquatic Center. But he warns that the requirements for employment will be challenging. “A 600 yard swim in the pool in ten minutes or less, followed by a 1.5 mile run in 12 minutes or less,” Johnson said.” If they pass that, they’re guaranteed an interview. If they’re...

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. “The bottom deck, the cabin will be enclosed and air-conditioned. There will be a snack bar, rest rooms and so forth,” says Dan Brown, Superintendent at...

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

If you’re heading to the beach this holiday weekend, remember you’re not just sharing the shoreline with friends, family and fish. Take the time to watch out for shore birds. Julie Wraithmell is the Director of Wildlife Conservation for Audubon Florida. She wants to remind people that sitting by the sea is a lot different than sitting by the pool. In addition to the abundant sea life both on the sand and in the water, there are nesting birds that call the shore line their home. And it’s not...

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

On Tuesday morning Chris Carter was loading the metal skeleton of a pop up beach tent onto the trailer of his truck. The Gulf Breeze resident says things looked a lot different over the weekend. "Over the weekend it looked like a catastrophe. There were these pop-up tents and tents and air mattresses and floats. The storms came through...Sunday morning and everyone left in a panic and the beach was in disarray." Over on the beach, some young people were picking up trash along the sand and in...

wcmu.org

The parties are already underway for this weekend’s annual gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender at Pensacola Beach’s Park East. About 150,000 people have attended the LBGT-related events the past couple of Memorial Day weekends. Ted McCrary, the general manager of Emerald City – the downtown Pensacola bar that serves as party central -- is expecting about the same, if not a slightly higher number this year. A number of events are on tap at both Emerald City and at the beach,...

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The Santa Rosa Island Authority is at a bit of a crossroads. The authority, which provides many services and events on Pensacola Beach, has been funded over the years, for the most part, with the lease fees paid by homeowners on the island. However, those home owners are now also being charged ad valorem property taxes. Some have called paying both property taxes and lease fees a form of double-taxation. This prompted lawsuits against the lease fees, some of which have not been settled and...

SRIA

The Santa Rosa Island Authority has agreed to hire a community planner to prepare for a future where its primary source of funding could soon disappear. This is a story with a lot of moving parts. We'll start by going back to this past March, when the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled that homes and condos on Pensacola Beach are subject to property taxes, called ad valorem taxes, even though they were built on land leased from the county. The owners of these homes were already paying...

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