More than $8 million worth of public infrastructure projects in Pensacola could soon be ready to move forward as they seek approval from the federal government.
The 10 projects, which vary from a 1.3-mile greenway park beneath Interstate 110 near downtown Pensacola to planning for a massive commerce park adjacent to the $1 billion Navy Federal Credit Union campus, are set to be funded from fines resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Escambia County residents have until July 19 to provide public comment on the proposed projects. The 45-day public comment period that began this month is mandated by the rules of the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act (RESTORE Act) passed in the wake of the spill in 2012. The RESTORE Act allocates 80 percent of the Clean
Water Act penalties resulting from the oil spill to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which is comprised of five funding components including the Direct Component which provides funds directly to each of 23 Gulf Coast Florida counties.
As part of the established funding agreement, each of the 23 eligible Florida counties must submit a Multi-year Implementation Plan (MYIP) with proposed projects to the U.S. Treasury, where they will face final approval.
Officials said this month that the $8.6 million in projects facing approval are just the beginning of nearly $71 million that’s expected to come to Escambia County over the next 14 years.
In 2012, the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners established the citizens RESTORE Advisory Committee to establish criteria, review, and rank 124 separate project proposals. Last year, the five commissioners chose two projects each for their districts to be included in the multi-year implementation plan.