Pensacola park's future threatened by low income housing proposal

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Pensacola, Fla. (WEAR) - The City of Pensacola is looking into doing away with a city park to make room for more affordable housing.

The park is located on J and Lloyd Streets.

The Pensacola City Council was suppose to take on the issue during Thursday's meeting but council member Jewel Cannada-Wynn pulled the item because she wanted to wait until she got all the information from an Area Housing Commission meeting.

The AHC wants to develop the land into low income one bedroom apartments.

It's a proposal residents strongly oppose.

For the first time in more than a year kids are playing on the playgroud at the park.

The park was shut down after reports of bad behavior.

The closure forced children in the neighborhood to play elsewhere.

Pierre Robinson, executive director of the Robinson Harris Academy of Music (RHAM), helped open the park on Tuesday.

He said, "When I grew up in Morris Court we didn't have a fence around the park. We were able to come in and off the park at any time. To see them not have that access it hurts me who grew up in Morris Court."

Robinson made a deal with the city to open the park using his own lock and key.

"They need some place to roam," Robinson said. "If you build houses here they don't have any place to go let their energy out. That energy once it gets home it's uncontrollable with the parents."

Community leaders like Ellison Bennett are against getting rid of the park but understands the concern of bad things happening on the property.

Bennett said, "Every time we have a problem are we just going to throw our hands up and leave?"

Also, Robinson believes it will take the community to keep the park open.

"We may even make arrangements with one of the parents that I have who works with us real close to close the park for us if need be so we have a few of the parents now wanting to make sure that we maintain discipline in the park."

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