Business at the Tin Cow on Palafox St. in Downtown Pensacola is steady now, but that wasn’t the case back in 2014, when serious flooding hit the restaurant.
“We were personally affected,” said Joe Abston, Tin Cow’s owner. “We took in several feet of water here and at our sister restaurant, Hop Jack’s. We spent the night in the flood, so it’s a very real thing for us.”
The 2014 flooding became a dark time for the city. The event made Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward begin thinking toward the future, of how his administration could possibly prevent it from happening again.
“People are really worried about flooding, obviously,” Hayward said. “[So], how can we do better about managing our storm water?”
With that question sprouted the beginnings of the “Your Opinion Matters” survey.
It’s the chance to have your voice heard about the city of Pensacola without going to a voting booth.
You get a phone call from a company that gauges your satisfaction and takes your suggestion on how to improve everything from city services and police safety all the way down to infrastructural issues.
Many residents feel happy their opinions are being heard, so they don’t seem to mind picking up the phone when the city rings.
“It gives the mayor a chance to get to inter act with the people who live in this town,” said Simran Kaer, a resident of Pensacola.
Others feel optimistic about the opportunity the survey brings.
“I think it’s always good to survey the people, the population, so that you can get different ideas of people you work with or who you know,” said Blaine Richardson, another resident.
Even though the survey will help with making sure the city needs are met, it still will take time for changes and proposals to take flight.
“It’s not going to be fixed overnight — you have to have the right workers, crew and legal things in order to get things fixed the way you want them,” Kaer said.
Some residents already know what they want changed.
“My first reaction would be parking downtown,” Richardson said. “Parking is always terrible downtown.”
And the City of Pensacola welcomes those suggestions with open arms.
“We really are glad they are taking time to look at things and try to make them great,” Abston said. “Everything is good but not great yet.”