After more than a decade of inactivity, Pensacola’s tech campus will be used as a soccer practice.
The Pensacola City Council unanimously approved an agreement between the city and the Pensacola-Escanbia Development Commission to allow the 9-acre lot to be used as a soccer practice until PEDC locates the property developer.
The tech park has been vacant since it opened in 2012 with a $2 million grant from the Economic Development Agency to attract information technology businesses to Pensacola.
FloridaWest and PEDC have since attempted to market the property to a wider industry base, but so far no potential developer has been announced for the property.
On September 9, Mayor Grover Robinson signed the agreement with PEDC Chairman Lewis Bear. Thursday’s vote was an affirmation of the agreement.
The agreement allows youth sports teams that have an agreement with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to use the property for a practice range.
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Pensacola Parks and Recreation Director Adrian Stills told the council the property would be used for a youth soccer team.
Stiles said the city will build a temporary safety net structure to prevent any stray football from entering the busy East Chase Street along the north side of the property.
Under the agreement, the city will also be responsible for the maintenance of grass fields throughout the tech park, and must repair any damage that occurs within the park as a result. According to the protocol, the practice must end at sunset and no lights should be installed in the park.
Councilwoman Jennifer Brahier asked Steele about the cost of maintaining the park as a driving range, which gives council $34,377 a year.
Steele said the space was necessary because the city lacks a practice range for youth soccer.
“That’s a good question,” Steele said. “We have over 900 youth who just want to play football and we have nowhere for them to go.”
Jim Little can be reached at email@example.com and 850-208-9827.