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May 22

A Brief History of a Parcel

Posted on May 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm by Dawn Corrigan

05-21-18 Google Map Showing Blount School with Caption
The parcel of land bounded by C, D, Chase, and Gregory Streets in Pensacola is still commonly referred to by residents as “the Blount School,” although the school that once thrived there was permanently closed in 1982, the building demolished in 2012.

Before the school was built, the city had designated the property for residential use; the Maxent Tract plat, recorded in 1906, envisioned 30 residential lots, plus some green space, on the 2.6 acre parcel. But fate had other plans.

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May 02

Council on Aging’s Senior Dining Program Offers Food, Fellowship

Posted on May 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm by Dawn Corrigan

By Karen Thompson, Budget and Planning Manager

Everybody has heard of Meals-on-Wheels, but did you know there’s another nutritional program offered locally as well?

Senior Dining Program

It’s Senior Dining Program, a neighborhood-based program that serves meals at Westminster Village (pictured) and four other locations around the City. Intended for residents who are mobile enough to get out for lunch, Senior Dining Program affords residents who are 60 years and older the opportunity to share their midday meal with other adults. Hot, nutritionally-balanced meals are served. Meals are prepared fresh daily, contain one-third of the recommended daily nutritional allowance for adults, and comply with Florida Department of Elder Affairs Guidelines. Attendees also have an opportunity to join in arts and crafts projects, play games, and socialize.

The Pensacola Housing Division is pleased to work with our community partner, Council on Aging of West Florida, Inc. (COA), in administering the funding for this nutritional program on behalf of the City. The City of Pensacola has supported COA’s Senior Dining Sites and Meals-On-Wheels programs since 1974, with an investment of over $2.5 million through Fiscal Year 2017. This investment has provided well over half a million meals to elderly and disabled City residents using the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) public service dollars. According to John Clark, COA’s President/CEO, “The funds are used as a match to obtain a significant amount of other federal and state funds for the agency as well.”

The first home-delivered meal program in the United States began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in January 1954. At the request of the Philadelphia Health & Welfare Council, and funded by a grant from the Henrietta Tower Wurtz Foundation, Margaret Toy, a social worker in Philadelphia's Lighthouse Community Center, pioneered a program to provide nourishment that met the dietary needs of homebound seniors and other "shut-ins" who otherwise would have gone hungry. As is the case today, many participants were people who did not require hospitalization, but who simply needed a helping hand in order to maintain their independence. Most of the volunteers in the original program were high school students.

Numerous studies have shown that Meals-on-Wheels programs are effective in improving nutrition among the elderly. And they're cost effective, because allowing older adults to age in place is less expensive than nursing-home care. Programs of these types were envisioned by the Older Americans Act (OAA). Originally enacted in 1965, OAA supports a range of home and community-based services including meals-on-wheels and other nutrition programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, and caregiver support. These programs help seniors stay as independent as possible in their homes and communities. In addition, OAA services help seniors avoid hospitalization and nursing home care and, as a result, save federal and state funds that would otherwise be spent on such care. A nonfederal match is required for OAA funding.

If you’re 60 or older and interested in joining your neighbors and friends for a meal, the Senior Dining Program sites are:

 Bayview Senior Resource Center  2000 E Lloyd St
 E.S. Cobb Resource Center  601 E Mallory St
 Fricker Resource Center
 900 N F St
 Westminster Retirement Village  1700 N L St
 Gull Point Resource Center  7000 Spanish Trail Rd

For more information, contact COA’s Community Services Director Karen Barbee at
Apr 25

Little House of Books: Pensacola Housing’s Little Free Library

Posted on April 25, 2018 at 12:58 pm by Dawn Corrigan

Housing Little Free Library with Caption and BirdIf you’ve visited the Pensacola Housing Division recently, you may have noticed a new structure located out in front of the office building, vaguely resembling a miniature barn. This is Pensacola Housing’s Little Free Library, which has been “open for business” since March.

The Little Free Library (LFL) phenomenon, which can be thought of as a variation on Public bookcases, started in 2009, when Wisconsin resident Todd Bol painted a wooden box to look like a schoolhouse, filled it with books, and set it on a post outside his home to be accessible to passersby, who were welcome to take a book or leave a book as they wished.

Bol’s miniature library was an homage to his mother, June Bol, a teacher and lifelong bibliophile who’d recently passed away. The idea went viral, and the Little Free Library nonprofit organization was formed in 2012. Currently, reports there are more than 60,000 registered Little Free Libraries, located in more than 80 countries around the globe. Since not all “stewards” (the organization’s name for LFL “librarians”) choose to register their libraries on the website, the actual total is certainly higher.

Pensacola Housing’s LFL is charter # 62,375. Our steward is Finance Specialist Nicole Louie, who’s been with the Housing Division since March 2013. Initially hired as a temporary receptionist, Ms. Louie was soon offered a permanent position as a clerk. She then worked as an HQS inspector, a scheduler, and a housing counselor before accepting her current position as Finance Specialist in 2016.

Nicole Louie Housing Finance Specialist 2017Through her employment with the City of Pensacola, Ms. Louie became involved with ECARE (Every Child a Reader in Escambia), serving in the ReadingPals Program, which pairs Pre-K students with mentors who help them develop the pre-literary skills found to increase educational success. To date, she’s mentored five children through the program. She also recently appeared in a PNJ story about the Pet Partners “Read with Me” literary program, which helps children, the elderly, veterans, and others form a human-dog bond by reading aloud to therapy dogs.

Given this background, it’s probably not surprising Ms. Louie is a Little Free Library enthusiast. When asked about her decision to become a LFL steward, she said, “As someone who’s been a lifelong reader, I’m always looking for an opportunity to put a book in someone’s hands.”

To find a registered Little Free Library, visit and enter a Zip Code, City/State, Steward’s Name, or other criteria on the interactive map—or, just drop by the Pensacola Housing office!