“There’s no funding at this moment,” stressed Pensacola Parks and Recreation Director Dave Flaherty. “Let me just start off with that.”
While funding may hinge on continuing a half-cent sales tax when it comes up for a vote in 2018, the parks department is planning for the future. Tonight the department will be discussing Bayview Park’s future.
“Whenever that future might be,” Flaherty said.
Following an initial community meeting earlier in the summer, city officials will host a follow-up meeting tonight at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the park’s senior center, unless the crowd merits relocating to the larger community center across the parking lot.
During the earlier meeting, a consultant team took notes on community input. Tonight they’ll be coming back with their interpretation of what the neighborhood needs, how the park might change to better serve residents in the future.
“Yeah, I’ve seen it,” Flaherty said of the consultant’s plan. “There’s some interesting stuff on it and there’s some stuff I’m not so sure about.”
In the past, city officials have mentioned the possibility of changing the primary use of the senior center (possibly to a center geared more toward young families), as well as the addition of a skateboard park.
Regardless of what is presented at tonight’s meeting, Flaherty said it was only the beginning of a long process.
“This is not the end-all, be-all,” he said. “Master planning takes quite a while and requires a lot of give and take.”
Bayview Park is the first park to receive such individual focus since Mayor Ashton Hayward announced his neighborhood initiative earlier in the summer. It was selected due to its heavy use.
“It’s our busiest park,” Flaherty said. “It’s unbelievable on weekends.”
While the conversation regarding the park’s future was started at the initial meeting, the process of figuring out exactly what the Bayview of the future might look like is still in the early stages.
“There will be thoughts that come out of this meeting,” Flaherty said. “This is just the beginning of the process, certainly not the end.”