At last week’s Emerald Coast Utility Authority meeting, board members were made aware that the City of Pensacola may devalue land belonging to the agency.
The ECUA, which provides water, waste-water and sanitation services to Escambia County, discovered that their downtown property, which formerly housed a waste-water facility, may not yield the anticipated profits once they sale the property.
Also known as sewage treatment plants, a waste-water facility’s main function is to filter out solid waste refuse and let the water pass though a series of channels to remove impurities before distributing it to the river or ocean.
In the past, unfortunately, many of these facilities resided in predominately African American communities like the downtown location.
As part of the original agreement upon moving the downtown treatment plant, a portion of the cost of moving the plant would be offsetted, in a small degree, by the demolition and of the plant as well as the selling of the commercial property at fair market values.
According to ECUA board members, the current process by the city is not in the best interest of the community.
ECUA Board Member Lois Benson exclaimed, “I Just think that the direction they are taking this is just totally wrong and this does not need to be done in this manner.
“I think that the city can do whatever they want with the valuation of the property after we have the opportunity to sell the property, but not now,” said ECUA board member, Dr. Larry Walker.
“It is very frustrating that they would even be taking a look at such a dramatic change without even communicating with anyone here at the ECUA,” said Bradley Odom, ECUA attorney. “It seems as though they would like to change the classification from commercial to residential.”
“We have given the city multiple opportunities to buy the property,” said Chairman Elvin McCorvey. “However, they do not wish to take part in the ownership of this property.”
At press time, a City of Pensacola representative could not be reached.