The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notified the City that it desires to terminate the lease for the Bruce Beach property. The notification was accompanied by the following statement:
Statement on the Gulf of Mexico Marine Enhancement Center
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has informed Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward that we intend to exercise our right to request a termination of the lease for the Bruce Beach site to house the Gulf of Mexico Marine Fisheries Enhancement Center. This decision is based on our assessment that community support for the location of the project on the Bruce Beach site is insufficient to ensure the long-term success of the project. While court rulings thus far have been favorable to the project, ongoing legal action taken by members of the community have resulted in delays which have had a significant financial impact. As a trustee for the state of Florida tasked with implementing restoration activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon natural disaster, FWC has a fiduciary responsibility to spend the people’s money in a wise and responsible manner. It is our firm conclusion that we are unable to meet that responsibility with the project sited at Bruce Beach in Pensacola. Going forward, FWC will work other state and federal trustees on the Florida Trustee Implementation Group to seek an alternative site for this $18.7 million project as currently designed.
FWC sincerely thanks the anglers, community leaders, scientists, engineers, biologists, and city staff that served on the Planning and Technical Committees for this project and greatly appreciates the time and energy invested during numerous project planning meetings. These committee member’s input was instrumental in determining the design of the facility and how aquaculture operations will be conducted. We also want to thank the members of the public who provided input on this project during 5 separate public workshops. Lastly, we are indebted to Mayor Hayward for his vision and stalwart support for this project during the nearly 8-year planning and design period.
Statement from Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward
“We appreciate our relationship with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and will continue to work with FWC on other opportunities that will bring value to our region,” said Mayor Hayward.
“Our goal has always been to activate the waterfront. I know that our community has other visionary ideas for the Bruce Beach site and I am confident that we can achieve our goal in a way that will turn out to be a win for our community.”