Downtown Pensacola

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Downtown Pensacola will be an even larger beehive of activity on Sept. 21, when the UWF Argonauts play their 2019 football home opener against Virginia-Lynchburg. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody looks at a new study by the Haas Business Center on the games’ economic impact.

When the Argonauts took the field at Bayfront Stadium for the five home games in 2018, they generated a total of $9.7 million in sales throughout Escambia County, according to Amy Newburn at the Haas Center. The report, she says, contains multiple types of inputs.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

As the resurrection of the ferry service linking downtown Pensacola, Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach approaches, the ribbon was cut Saturday on the boats’ downtown landing.

Port of Pensacola Director Amy Miller addressed the crowd at the new facility, located at the head of Commendencia Slip between the Port of Pensacola and Plaza de Luna/Palafox Pier.

Pensacola Open Streets

Some major streets in Pensacola will be off limits to anything that runs with a motor for a few hours later this month as Ciclovia returns to town. Since it started in the 1970s in Bogota, Columbia, Ciclovia has been spreading around the world.

Two years ago, Ciclovia came to Pensacola for the first time, and thousands of people took to the road on bikes and skates and their own two feet.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

A new Pensacola Bay ferry operator has been selected for the 2019 season, Gulf Islands National Seashore announced last week. One aim will be to forget an unsuccessful 2018 season.

HMS Ferries Inc. has signed a 10-year deal with the National Park Service to operate Turtle Runner and Pelican Perch — the two, 150-passenger ferries for pedestrians and bicycles which were built with four million dollars from the BP oil spill settlement.

UWF Historic Trust

A crowd of about 100 people gathered in Pensacola’s historic district Friday morning for the opening of Museum Plaza, a new interactive historic exhibit located directly behind the T. T. Wentworth Museum.

"(This is) a space that preserves and interprets our archeological treasures, and certainly creates a unique canvas for engagement in downtown Pensacola" said Howard Reddy, the Vice President for University Advancement and the CEO of the University of West Florida Historic Trust.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Security in downtown Pensacola was one of Mayor Grover Robinson’s topics in his Monday morning briefing at City Hall, along with the Port of Pensacola and the gubernatorial inauguration.

Twenty-nine-year old Kyle Terry faces 10 charges, including aggravated assault, robbery and carjacking, after a number of incidents Friday night in downtown Pensacola. Police say Terry held a woman at gunpoint; demanded her car keys, then fired a pistol in the Palafox Place area. There were no serious injuries reported.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In downtown Pensacola, a new digital parking system is up and running, using both traditional and higher tech payment methods.

New Orleans-based Premium Parking’s digital management platform covers on-street, public lots and parking garages throughout the 39-block downtown area.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to show what sort of modern approach to parking management can do for a municipality, both on-street and off-street to make parking simpler and more efficient,” said Premium President Ben Montgomery.

Gulf Power Company

Gulf Power Company will spend $83 million over five years, to upgrade its electricity grid in downtown Pensacola.

The project is part of an overall, $225 million makeover across the utility’s 460,000 customer service area. According to spokesman Jeff Rogers, the current system is well beyond retirement age.

“While there’s a very sophisticated underground network in downtown Pensacola, parts of it are 70 years gold,” said Rogers. “They’ve been well maintained and updated, but it is time for a complete overhaul.”

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

It has been a little over a year since Dr. Martha Saunders took over as President of The University of West Florida. She sat down WUWF's Bob Barrett to talk about that first year and her vision for the future of the university. 

Moto Electric Vehicles

Visitors to downtown Pensacola could be able to park and ride later this month, thanks to six new electric trolleys from Gulf Island National Seashore.

With the park’s ferry service in limbo the new electric trolleys, each consisting of motor and trailer units, are being loaned to the City of Pensacola. Each vehicle can hold 27 passengers.

Street performers in downtown Pensacola appear to be getting a new rulebook on plying their art.

Street performers, called “buskers,” play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations.

“It looks to me, that over the course of over the last 450 some-odd years, there’s been street performance regularly downtown; and we want to preserve that, because that’s authentic to Pensacola,” said DIB Executive Director Curt Morse.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a recent uptick of economic development in the local area and a new solar project for local military facilities.

Two new upscale hotels, an Aloft and an Element, both Starwood brands, are planned downtown between 9th Avenue and Salamanca Street.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the movement to replace the Pensacola Bay Center with a new facility and how Florida and the U.S. job markets are faring after a long period of uninterrupted growth.

The Pensacola Bay Center is reaching the end of its productive lifespan and with maintenance costs rising, a group of stakeholders led by Pensacola Sports and Visit Pensacola have begun looking at replacing the building with a new multiuse facility.

IHMC

Like many Pensacolians who visit Europe, or a big city like New York, we were struck on a recent vacation in Spain by the vibrancy of the downtown scene, throughout the day and into the night. In Granada and, especially, Barcelona, the energy of the nightly street life seems extraordinary.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

  It was back in April when the Downtown Improvement Board announced it would end sponsorship of the popular monthly street party and the final Gallery Night would be September 16. At the time, John Peacock, the Chairman of the DIB left the door open for someone else to take over the event saying "If the bars and restaurants for example wanted to put on a street party, there are avenues to do that."

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