Waterfront development has potential to change Pensacola’s trajectory
Written by Stephen Moorhead, featured in the Pensacola News Journal
July 21, 2019
It’s vacation time and people across the country are on vacation or planning trips to cool places. It is safe to say most of those trips are somewhere near water. And often it is to a cool city, not just a beach destination.
They go to cities like San Diego, California where tripsavvy.com says: “San Diego is a city of different flavors and topography. But it is, first and foremost, a waterfront city. And what better way to take in the essence of the city than to do a waterfront San Diego walking tour.”
And how about Charleston, South Carolina for a destination? A combination of rich and long history and beautiful architecture make it unique. But it is The Waterfront Park that opened in 1990 that is its top draw. It is a 12-acre park championed by Mayor Joe Riley, who believed waterfront land should be open to all citizens, not just a privileged few.
Riley obtained control of the property and dedicated it to every citizen who lives in Charleston. The project contained 185 trees, 750 azaleas, 2,000 boxwoods, and thousands of annuals and perennials.
Chicago is a great city to visit anytime. But in the summer, hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals enjoy Lakefront Trail, which features 22 miles of bike paths along the waters of Lake Michigan through Jackson Park, by the University of Chicago, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Lincoln Park.
Notice a common theme? Downtowns that have broad public access to waterfront combined with great open spaces and the ability to walk and bike while enjoying both. Oh, and all three are vibrant places to be with growing economies.
It is great the region has Pensacola Beach. It has been a gold mine for Escambia County and the entire region. Visit Pensacola reports more than 2 million tourists visited Escambia County in 2018, resulting in nearly $22 million in tax revenue and nearly $800 million in visitor spending. It credits more than 22,000 jobs in Escambia County related to tourism.
To view the full article on the Pensacola News Journal website, click here.