Neighbors, City Council Discuss Future of Local Park

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A park in Pensacola may be nearing its end, but that’s going to be a decision for a later date.  At Monday’s city council meeting, deciding the fate of the Morris Court Park was tabled for a later time.  Neighbors talked about what they think about the park, and a city council official explained why the decision will hold off.

It’s easy to look at the playground and see it needs improvements.  There are boarded up slides, trash around the area, even a sign clearly showing this park is closed.  The city of Pensacola leases the land from the area housing authority.

One young woman who lives nearby with her family likes the idea of the park but thinks some changes are in order.

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“I feel it should be open but with some safety precautions,” said Nikeya Gaskins.  “I have little siblings that want to go to the park and due to the park being closed, I have to like walk them all the way to a whole other park.”

She told us a few stories she was told about the park.  They included alleged drug use and harassment, which concerns Gaskins.

“Just… None of the inappropriate stuff because people children are at the park,” she said of what she wants people to know about the park, and what she wishes she could change.  “Like the smoking and all that, and the harassment and all that. Just… No.”

At Monday’s city council agenda meeting, chairwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn noted some community members upset with crime at the park.  In the long run, though, she wonders if there could be a better use for the area.  She motioned to hold off on discussing if the city council should stop using the property so people who live in the area could share their opinions.

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“We have a need in our county, in our area, for housing,” Cannada-Wynn said.  “That is one of the things that is utmost important, and so again, you’re balancing the needs of all the citizens.”

The recommendation that the city council ceases leasing so the housing authority can develop the land into more affordable housing was pulled.  We’re not sure when it will be brought up again.

The Pensacola Parks and Recreation’s website shows there are 58 playground structures in the city, and 600 acres of parks open space.

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