“In what ways might Pensacola’s port lands evolve to meet the economic and social opportunities of the next 50 years?” This is the central question posed by the City and its consultants as it embarks on the creation of a vision plan and reinvestment strategy for the Port of Pensacola. We invite you to be a part of this important conversation.
Since its establishment, the Port has served as an important transportation and trade gateway in Northwest Florida. Early on, goods shipped through Pensacola included regionally harvested lumber, locally made bricks and sailing ship masts. As Pensacola and the region evolved, so too did the Port’s cargoes. Manufactured paper, wind turbines, power plant components and services supporting offshore industries all became part of the Port’s increasing specialization within the broader network of Florida and Gulf seaports.
The Port, however, faces strong economic headwinds in its efforts to remain a self-sustaining enterprise. The Port’s 50 acres of facilities and infrastructure requires continual maintenance and upgrade to remain competitive in its areas of specialization at a time when local, state and federal resources remain harder to rely upon. And these headwinds have gained strength at a time of renaissance along Pensacola’s waterfront and throughout the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Thus, “how best should Pensacola’s port land’s evolve?” is an appropriate question to ask as we continue to plan for the future.
The City has retained the maritime and community planning expertise of Moffatt & Nichol to help with this visioning and strategy effort, with initial data collection and planning tasks already underway. Over the next four months, the consultants will explore innovative ideas, uses, and community priorities for some or all of the Port unearthed through thoughtful, focused engagement of Pensacola residents, port users and other stakeholders.
How can you stay involved in this important effort? The planning team has developed a series of interactive work sessions and survey efforts to help collect and channel community feedback into compelling ideas for the long term evolution of the Port. The first of these will be a community open house held June 26–27 at City Hall’s Hagler/Mason Conference Room (222 West Main Street, Second Floor). Specific hours and interactive sessions will be announced over the course of this week through various media outlets.
The planning team also invites you to stay in touch with all events and activities via the project’s website—www.portsidepensacola.com. The website will continually be updated with vision plan materials and news. Also delivered through the website will be two online survey initiatives designed to learn what Pensacola residents desire for their waterfront and Port, and later, to encourage community assessment of preliminary future visions of Pensacola’s port lands.
Draft and final versions of the vision plan and reinvestment strategy will be assembled during the month of September. The plan will include case study research, concepts, illustrations, strategies and other features that combined will offer community leaders a playbook from which to draw upon to guide the future of the Port and its facilities.