By Jeremie Samuel
The process of relocating the Westside Library Branch into the construct of the new Legion Field Resource Center is still in the drafting phase according to City of Pensacola Public Information Officer, Derek Cosson. Legion Field is currently a traditional recreational park with playing fields and playground equipment. The Westside Library branch is set to merge into Legion Field complex as part of a new multi-purposed community resource center.
Currently housed in a commercial rental property off of West Cervantes street, the tentative moving date of the Westside branch is set for some times in 2013 . According to city officials, the merging of the two entities into one facility will cut the costs of building two structures. The new community resource center comes from Mayor Haywood’s initiative to improve neighborhoods, parks and recreation facilities.
“We don’t particularly like to rent spaces and buildings but prefer to maintain our own facilities where possible,” Cosson said. “In building this facility it just made sense to incorporate a section to house the Westside Library rather than just continue to rent a store front space.”
“The architecture firm is doing the designs and still working on the design for the Legion Field Resource Center which will include the Westside Library,” Cosson continued. “Due to different issues, including citizen input, it is taking a little bit longer. They are having to make design changes. We would like to break ground before the end of the year.”
The design fee for the project is $150,696 and was approved by the city on June 23 of last year. The Pensacola City Council approved $3,000,000 Penny for Progress Funds for the construction of the Community Resource Center. In January, $2,270,000 was set aside for sitework construction.
Cosson says that in addition to the recreational facilities of the Legion Field Resource Center, there will be different rooms for meetings, computers and tables where visitors can sit down and read.
“We want it to be a resource for our community with computers where you can go do job applications; and … a library to do homework, go learn and read and bring kids for story time,” Cosson said. “We want it to be more than just a traditional recreational center, we want it to be a resource for not just recreation but also for learning and career advancement.”