Open House for downtown “Hashtag Connector” project to be held this week

The “Hashtag Connector” brings bike & pedestrian friendly planning designs to downtown Pensacola

The plan for Pensacola’s waterfront development is nearing completion and has become more concise. If you’re excited to be the first residents to view it, now it your chance, as public presentations are planned for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week!

Open House for the Hashtag Connector Project

The waterfront development initiative is commonly referred to as the “Hashtag Connector” project, as it connects four streets that seem to form a hashtag when viewed from an aerial perspective. It connects the streets of Palafox, Cedar, Jefferson, and Main to make the downtown and waterfront area more accessible, especially for bikers and pedestrians.

You can view this nearly-finalized plan if you would like to join the public hearings on the project.

The open houses will be done both in-person and virtually. The virtual presentation will take place on April 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and the in-person open house will occur on following day starting 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Hunter Amphitheater at Community Maritime Park.

Don’t miss the open house! Register for the virtual presentation via this link.

What to Expect from the Project

Projects for the Waterfront: Officials expect an emergence in dormant projects focusing on waterfront development alongside the 3-mile bridgework.

According to a previous statement, project manager Lee Altman said that the design to be displayed this week will show a progression in the development of the first idealistic rendering of the project. The plan has been fine-tuned to meet the demands of the community, including parking areas, utility lines, and other logistics aspects.

As the project manager of SCAPE, the landscape architecture firm that handles the project, Lee said that “the drawings we developed earlier were highly conceptual and trying to make sense of what the vision was, and (the new design) is really bringing that vision down to earth, understanding what can fit where.”

SCAPE started working on the project in late 2019 and has been finding ways to add more life to Pensacola’s downtown waterfront area. The firm’s plan also includes investment strategies on development projects that will ensure huge ROI for the community. The project receives funding from CivicCon, a collaboration between Studer Community Institute and the News Journal.

Aside from SCAPE, engineering firm Dewberry also takes part in the project, especially in mapping out the in-depth detail. David Tillar, the project leader on Dewberry’s end, mentioned that his team is going to add a combination of accessibility and attractiveness to the plan. They’re going to make sure that no utility lines will be disrupted before, during, and after the project has been carried out as this could affect the overall cost. He said that the project’s goal is to ensure that people will say “Wow, I’ve arrived in downtown Pensacola,” a sign that the area is really a remarkable sight.

The Hashtag Connector development will be a game-changer. Its first phase will focus on Main Street and includes the addition of bike lanes, protected lanes, landscaping, and pedestrian connections. These features will ensure safety for the people. Besides, this also helps businesses speed up their logistics as they can make deliveries without a lot of traffic disruptions. Although the next two stages aren’t funded and approved yet, these two are going to have the same strategy and will be implemented on Cedar Street, then on Jefferson and Palafox streets.

Dewberry and Tillar will soon be making public statements, carrying out necessary blueprint changes, and preparing biddable documents for the city in the summer.

 

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