DIB and City to build public restrooms
Posted: Aug 2, 2022 6:01 PMUpdated: Aug 2, 2022 6:01 PM
Financing is in place and design plans underway for construction of two public restrooms at the south and north end of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on North Palafox St. The public facilities are a joint project of the City of Pensacola, which approved the plan several weeks ago, and the Downtown Improvement Board.DIB Chairman Michael Carro says construction should get underway by early 2023.The proposed MLK Plaza restrooms will be maintained by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and are the first of several Carro says are needed in downtown Pensacola. “Our city has not done a good job providing restrooms for public use in downtown Pensacola,” says Carro.But Carro adds that when the DIB devised a plan to pay for half the cost of the restrooms with private funds, City Council members recognized the need and responded positively. “The City of Pensacola is always grateful when we come with solutions to problems and money to address them,” Carro says.Estimated construction cost for both facilities is $500,000, with half that amount funded by the City and remainder under a three-year financing deal backed by revenue from the Palafox Market vendors.  The restrooms, Carro says, are designed to be easily maintained and cleaned. Moreover, the exterior of two restrooms will be aesthetically pleasing and blend into the overall architectural look of the downtown district.Announcement of the joint City-DIB restroom project comes amid recent controversy over repeated vandalism of temporary portapotties paid for by Palafox Market vendors and required by City ordinance.The portapotties are delivered to the MLK Plaza on Friday afternoons and locked during the night to preserve their sanitation. They are unlocked early Saturday morning for the market’s customers, relocked at night and typically picked up Monday mornings.“The Palafox Market is like any other permitted downtown event; it just so happens the event occurs every weekend instead of once a year like many other downtown events,” says Walker Wilson, DIB executive director.Long-time market vendor Barbara Fletcher says securing the portapotties overnight is necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of the portable restrooms. She says the recent vandalism of locks is completely unacceptable. “Palafox Market vendors, as part of a fee to be able to be there every Saturday, pay for the portapotties, and as a result they are privately rented for a permitted event,” says Fletcher.The recent repeated destruction of the padlocks on the portapotties results in their unlawful use at night and presents a serious public health concern due to the unsanitary debris left inside the devices, Fletcher says. “Destroying the lock one time could be viewed as a good Samaritan act,” she notes. “Destroying the lock 11 consecutive times is destruction of property rented by the Palafox Market vendors and is a criminal offense.”
DIB announces local business Spotless Logistics as new downtown cleaning contractor
Posted: Feb 22, 2022 6:53 PMUpdated: Feb 22, 2022 6:53 PM
The Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) announced today the selection of Pensacola business Spotless Logistics as its new cleaning contractor. Services include keeping downtown sidewalks and curb lines free of litter, managing weeds, removing graffiti, performing quarterly pressure-washing and reporting maintenance issues to the City. The Downtown Cleaning Ambassadors are also an integral part of helping to create a welcoming and safe environment in Downtown Pensacola by providing directions and local information, connecting with those in need, and more.Spotless Logistics is a minority-owned business owned by Labarian Turner. “Commercial cleaning has been in my family for 30 years,” he said. The company was founded in Pensacola in 2014 and also provides post-construction, office and medical facility cleaning. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the DIB,” Turner said. “We pride ourselves in our cleaning expertise, customer service and the dedication of our staff for everything they do, and we look forward to consistently exceeding expectations.” Keeping downtown clean is a big job: each year the cleaning team picks up nearly 150,000 pounds of trash, cleans 8,000 sq. ft. of sidewalks, completes more than 5,000 work orders and removes nearly 120 instances of graffiti. The DIB was seeking to move its $130,000 per year contract for maintenance and hospitality services to a local company, according to executive director Walker Wilson. “Sourcing to local vendors whenever possible is important to us,” Wilson said. “Spotless Logistics has a top-notch reputation for excellence and attention to detail and we are proud to work with Labarian and his great team to continue to keep downtown Pensacola clean and welcoming to visitors, residents and businesses.”
Vendor sought for maintenance and hospitality in Downtown Pensacola
Posted: Jan 14, 2022 9:35 PMUpdated: Jan 17, 2022 2:53 PM
The Downtown Improvement Board is seeking proposals for maintenance and hospitality services in Pensacola’s urban core.The contractor will be responsible for cleaning sidewalks – including quarterly pressure washing – collecting litter and vegetative debris, weeding, reporting and removing graffiti and maintaining and emptying public trash cans.The vendor’s employees will also be expected to engage the general public, providing directions and information about downtown businesses, restaurants, attractions and activities.The DIB, a special district within the City of Pensacola designed to promote economic development and quality of life, consists of 44 blocks in the urban core of downtown Pensacola.Proposals for the two-year contract are due by 4 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2022. Read and print the full RFP HERE:
DIB Asks City Council to Address Scooter Safety Concerns
Posted: Jan 7, 2022 6:58 PMUpdated: Jan 7, 2022 6:58 PM
The Downtown Improvement Board has asked the Pensacola City Council to impose tighter restrictions on electric scooters when the council meets to discuss the matter this month.In a letter sent to councilmembers Thursday, the DIB requested that council limit the number of scooters allowed in the city to 200, ban them from sidewalks and parking garages, disallow unlicensed drivers from operating the vehicles, create designated pickup and drop-off areas and limit their hours of operation from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The DIB also requested that the city charge an annual fee on each scooter, which would be used to support safety and infrastructure upgrades to the scooter program.“We appreciate and embrace the City’s efforts to make Pensacola a multi-modal city,” the letter reads, “and we understand the need to create diverse public transportation options. However, we are also aligned in our belief that the scooter pilot program is threatening the safety and well-being of downtown Pensacola residents, workers, and visitors.”The DIB’s recommendations follow mounting scrutiny of Bird Scooters, the company that began operating an e-scooter pilot program in downtown Pensacola last July. Mayor Grover Robinson expressed concern about the program in December — after a flurry of citizen complaints and at least two serious injuries tied to the scooters.In October, a local man racked up $60,000 in medical bills after wrecking one of the scooters. The following month, another rider was hospitalized with severe injuries after running a stop sign and colliding with a car.  Pensacola isn’t the only city looking to tighten regulations around this new mode of transportation. Municipalities across the country — and around the world — are reevaluating their approach to e-scooters as the associated risks become clear. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, e-scooters resulted in an estimated 50,000 emergency department visits and at least 27 fatalities between 2017 and 2019, with injuries and deaths on the rise year over year. DIB executive director Walker Wilson says that City staff have been open to feedback. “After speaking with City staff to address concerns from downtown businesses and property owners, they confirmed that some of the recommendations were going to be passed along in their report to City Council,” he said.Though the scooter pilot program is still in progress, the DIB hopes it will proceed with caution. “Being thoughtful about how we use our downtown sidewalks and roadways, we can ensure the district continues to be safe and accessible for all of us,” the DIB wrote in their letter.  
Downtown Pensacola lights up the season
Posted: Dec 7, 2021 11:27 PMUpdated: Dec 7, 2021 11:28 PM
It’s the holiday season, when visitors to Downtown Pensacola can experience music, shopping, food, art and nightlife under a canopy of half a million white lights illuminating historic buildings, parks, shops, galleries and outdoor spaces. Wandering along Palafox, you may chance upon live street performances, caroling in the streets, Santa posing for photos and Winterfest Trolley Tours. Lighting up the night sky, as part of downtown Pensacola’s First City Lights Festival, are the twinkling lights lining the main city streets to create a magical setting for the diverse, season-long lineup of holiday festivities. And helping to bring these lights to the night are Gulf Power Company and the contractors, JAH Power Services, Inc., Service Electric Co., Roberson Underground Utility, LLC., and L30, who are working on Gulf Power’s $86 million downtown reliability project designed to help modernize the underground electrical network. “Gulf Power is pleased to once again support the First City Lights Festival as part of our ongoing partnership with the Downtown Improvement board and the City of Pensacola” said Rick Byars, senior external affairs manager for Gulf Power. “We have worked to create an even brighter energy future through ensuring long-term reliability for our customers’ businesses and homes, and we hope all of our customers will come downtown and experience the joy of the season.” The holiday lights are a huge draw for bringing residents and visitors into the downtown district during the winter months. “Downtown Pensacola provides an unforgettable holiday experience for families,” said DIB Executive Director Walker Wilson. “Aside from the fantastic shopping, museums, dining and nightlife, the holidays downtown also mean live outdoor theater, musical performances and the unique setting created each evening when the lights come on. First City Lights Festival brings all of these experiences together into one extraordinary holiday event.”The First City Lights Festival will continue to light up downtown Pensacola through January 13, 2022.