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Bayview Community Center To Be Razed

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Bayview Community Center is slated for the wrecking ball. The facility is the latest victim of last year’s massive flooding.

For decades, after-school programs and events of all stripes have been held in the center. But the flood caused significant damage, forcing events to be moved to other city-owned facilities. Eric Olson is Pensacola City Administrator.

“Even before that, the building wasn’t in the best of shape,” Olson said. “We just had some lingering mold and mildew problems, the building wasn’t ADA [Americans for Disability Act] compliant. So, even before the floods we weren’t able to use the building to its full capacity.”

The building, at the bottom of a large hill, was hit by a massive amount of flood water and raw sewage. Olson agrees with a review by city facilities staff, that it probably would cost more to restore it than it would to knock it down.

The announcement was made in April that Bayview Community Center would be razed. City Engineer Derrik Owens said the building would never recover from the deluge.

“Because of the age and extent of the damage, it’s going to be practical and feasible to go ahead and bring the facility down,” said Owens. “It’s probably outlived its useful life.”

That hazardous materials survey was conducted, and City Administrator Eric Olson says it confirmed that there was asbestos – a known carcinogen – in the building. The estimated budget for bringing down Bayview is around $150,000.

If all goes as planned, Olson says the contractor would be on-site in late September or early October and weather depending, it would take two to three weeks to complete the work. The nearby Bayview Senior Center is not affected.

While there are no immediate plans to replace the facility, a Master Plan developed four years ago by the architectural firm Quina-Grundhoefer could be the basis for any such construction. Olson says nothing is definite just yet.

The master plan was devised after a number of town hall meetings with residents in the East Hill neighborhood. Conceptual drawings suggested an open-air plaza, vendor facilities, and some water display on the Bayview Community Center site.

As for what happens next -- stay tuned.

“Residents and citizens of the community can really look forward to something,” said Olson. “Whatever goes in there is really going to be a great enhancement for the park, and certainly an improvement on what we have there today.”

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