The rapid transformation of Pensacola's Palafox Street serves as a revitalization example for Downtown Jacksonville to follow.
In the sport of baseball, small ball is an informal term for an offensive strategy in which the batting team emphasizes placing runners on base and then advancing them into scoring position for a run in a deliberate, methodical way. Applying this concept to urban revitalization, getting things right doesn’t necessarily mean having to only select between hitting home runs on risky, heavily subsidized mega-projects or striking out at bat. Clustering, complementing businesses with a compact, pedestrian scale setting is a successfully proven and affordable example of small ball.
Attending the 2019 Florida Preservation Conference, facilitated by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, I had the opportunity to visit Pensacola for the first time since 2010. A less than a decade following the conversion of a one-way street back into a two-way street,
Pensacola has played the urban revitalization game of small ball to perfection, transforming Palafox Street into an urban, exciting and lively pedestrian-friendly atmosphere that would make cities ten times its size envious. As a result of Pensacola’s hard work and vision, Palafox was designated by the American Planning Association as one of ten Great Streets in America.
It is very impressive to see what Pensacola has accomplished in a very short time. Larger cities such as Jacksonville should be excited to witness Pensacola’s success and think about what can be achieved locally if leadership is able and committed to finally doing the little things around clustering complementing uses within a compact setting that make a downtown successful.
For a before and after look at the transformation of Downtown Pensacola’s Palafox Street, visit the full article on ModernCities.com.