Downtown Improvement Board Looks Back on a Year of Incredible Progress

Posted: Nov 10, 2018 10:29 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 11:52 pm

Buzzing with development of all kinds — a new hotel, restaurants, reimagined historic landmarks, unique retail shops and galleries, 258-apartment residential development, multi-story YMCA complex and more — today’s Downtown Pensacola didn’t get here by happenstance. Fiscal Year 2018 was a transformative year, full of growth and record numbers of visitors. The Downtown Improvement Board recently submitted its annual update to the City of Pensacola and the Community Redevelopment Agency, outlining its accomplishments and ongoing efforts since October 1, 2017. Some of the highlights include:

Ensuring a Safe Downtown

  • Hired a nighttime DIB Ambassador to patrol the Jefferson St. Garage after hours.
  • Purchased a maintenance golf cart to improve ambassador response times, remove and transport debris.
  • Painted new striping to designate handicapped parking in DIB-managed parking areas; reported and tracked pavement and ramp issues, lights out, sidewalk cracks.

Creating a Clean Downtown

  • Purchased a new waste management system for disposing of the tons of waste produced downtown, that uses clean technology, is quiet and is out of sight.
  • Pressure washed sidewalks throughout the entire district in November and April.
  • Removed waste, spills, graffiti and debris from the garage, elevators, sidewalks, parks and other public areas.

Effecting a Well-Managed Downtown District

  • Reduced dependence on third-party vendors for parking management, saving $150K per year.
  • Offered an RFP and conducted a parking study to identify ways to improve the parking experience downtown.
  • Began replacing the Jefferson St. Garage lights with cleaner, brighter LED lights, which offer a higher level of safety for downtown visitors while generating additional savings on annual energy costs.

Creating a Vibrant Downtown

  • Attracted record-breaking attendance to DIB-sponsored events: Umbrella Sky Project, Palafox Market and First City Lights Festival, and supported more than 50 events executed by other organizations.
  • Earned the designation "Florida's Greatest Place" through a voter poll by the American Planning Association.
  • Initiated a purposeful and strategic approach to placemaking with public art, streetscaping and lighting improvements throughout the district.

The DIB is led by a volunteer board made up of downtown community leaders and business owners and one representative each from the Pensacola City Council and Escambia Co. Board of County Commissioners, who work with DIB staff and volunteer committees with diligence and purpose to ensure the vitality of the district, increase property values, retain downtown businesses and attract new commercial and residential investment downtown. The vision throughout the year has been to create a safe, clean, well-managed, vibrant downtown district for employees, residents, property owners and visitors.

View the complete DIB FY2017-18 Presentation to the City by clicking here.

[PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Bogan]