If you ask any millennial raised in the Pensacola area, they will tell you that the Pensacola today, isn’t the Pensacola that we remember from our “growing up” years. In fact, many of us wanted to move away or not return if we did move.
But much has changed over the past decade.
Employment opportunities have grown thanks to Navy Federal, IHMC and other employers moving into or growing. Downtown Pensacola has grown exponentially, there’s now more to do than ever before.
Our city is now a craft beer connoisseurs’ “hub” for the south (watch out Asheville, NC). We’ve become a sports town thanks to the Pensacola Blue Wahoo’s and the baseball stadium right downtown, the SBC hosting their Basketball tourney here, and everyone loves a fun night watching the Ice Flyers on the weekend.
Pensacola has elected a young, data driven and results focused mayor.
We also have the most beautiful beach in the world just a few minutes away.
While this is exciting, there’s still more work to do.
In the annual Quality of Life Survey conducted by Pensacola Young Professionals, we’ve learned that not everyone in our community feels the same and that there’s much more to do in our community.
What’s stopping people from feeling a part of this community? Why are our public schools in Escambia County underperforming? Why do we not have an abundance of mental health resources? Why do young, working parents in Pensacola struggle to find low cost and high-quality day-care centers? Why are young people who work and play in Downtown Pensacola not able to find affordable housing options?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but it’s imperative that we all take a deeper look into these issues. There are local resources and organizations that are working towards tackling these very concerns.
As I’ve seen over the past decade our area continues to grow and have bright spots for our future such as the Escambia Children’s Trust, the work that Studer Community Institute is doing to create America’s First Early Learning City, and the growth of other home-grown organizations and non-profits in our area.
With all this working together and helping to tackle these issues, I am betting Pensacola will soon be the Pensacola that we all hope and dream for…. a community for everyone.
Event Director, Studer Events
*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Charles Houston is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.