After more than two years of planning, a new public plaza and park will soon officially be complete in downtown Pensacola’s historic district.
A grand opening for the plaza will be held Friday, Feb 8 at 9 a.m. behind the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. museum. The event will highlight elements of the community space including Discovery Square, an interactive early learning playground; the Rose Garden Storytelling Circle; and the Linda Evans Memorial Education Pavilion.
“The UWF Historic Trust is committed to providing both visitors and neighbors of this city an authentic interpretation of history that is unique to Pensacola,” said UWF President Martha Saunders during the project’s groundbreaking in 2017.
Located behind the T.T. Wentworth Florida State Museum, the plaza includes an outdoor education center featuring a covered stage and seating area ideal for presentations, performances, lectures and other educational activities focusing on history, archaeology and architecture, as well as an exploration playground. The area was previously occupied by a flood-prone surface parking lot.
The University of West Florida Historic Trust, which owns and manages much of the historic district, built the plaza as part of a master plan unveiled in 2015. The master plan is being implemented in phases and is envisioned as a new opportunity to explore new ways of sharing the history of Pensacola and West Florida. The entire plan, estimated to cost between $10 to $15 million, could take several years to come to fruition.
Funding for the project was provided by the UWF Historic Trust, Quint and Rishy Studer, David and Emily Walby, IMPACT 100 and Fiesta of Five Flags.
Marquis Latimer + Halback, a St. Augustine-based landscape architecture firm, designed the plaza and Pensacola-based Wescon Corporation was the general contractor.