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VIEWPOINTS | Vol. 8, No. 18, May 8, 2008
(What's Going On?)

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Lumon May

YES, WE CAN Yes, we can. We can make Pensacola a better place for all people. With the recent economic setbacks that we have had locally, as well as nationally, we must do everything we can to ensure that our local residents are engaged in opportunities to become self-sufficient and economically independent. We can no longer allow local tax dollars to leave our area.

Recently, we have had enormous dialogue on how to have local minority inclusion on public projects. I might suggest that the blueprint for local minority inclusion has already been designed and approved by the community.

The principals of the Community Maritime Park Associates had a vision for all residents. They displayed great forethought by making sure they included a Covenant with the Community so all our local businesses and citizens would have the opportunity to participate in one of the region's largest public works projects.

Yes, we can come together as a community for the good of all citizens by moving forward with the Vince Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park. The CMPA Board has shown it will execute the will of the people by living up to the Covenant with the Community and, thus, fulfill the vision of the principals.

It is now up to the Pensacola City Council to give the CMPA Board the funding to build the park that will employ hundreds of local citizens. We need them to figure out how to finance this public works project that will revitalize our community. The council can wait no longer for the Florida Supreme Court to clarify its earlier ruling. We need to get moving.

We simply cannot continue to allow surrounding communities to recruit our young, bright leaders. We must provide economic incentives to businesses, good paying jobs for our young professionals, and the hope that change can happen here in this city that we love dearly.

We also need the park built because we so badly need a win-something that encourages all of us about the future of this community. No matter how long the journey, it starts with the first step. So I believe we must have the courage to take that first step by making sure we respect the wishes of the voters by pushing ahead with the most significant project in the lives of most Pensacolians-the Community Maritime Park.

Yes, we can build a world-class facility that will be a jewel along the Gulf Coast while making sure citizens' lives and businesses are enriched through their participation in the construction other aspects of the park.

I am a big believer in the saying, "An obstacle is something you see when you take your eyes off the goal." The CMP has very lofty goals that will raise the quality of life for all our citizens. It has been studied and openly discussed for nearly three years. The voters of Pensacola have clearly approved the park with its open spaces, multi-use stadium, maritime museum and conference center. It's time to build it for all residents.

Can we do this? Yes, we can!