Pace Boulevard school site

Thursday, April 30, 2009

As many of you know, I am deeply concerned about the environmental conditions of our community. Several weeks ago I began to hear concerns and receive phone calls about possible soil contamination at the planned site for a new school in the City limits (Pace Boulevard and Garden Street where the old Gulf Power Building sits).

Below, please see a letter sent by Mr. Dennis at the School District in response to my raising the issue at a recent City Council meeting, as well as my subsequent response.

As you can see from Mr. Dennis' letter, the School District will be doing additional testing at the site to ensure this site is safe. I look forward to working with the School District to ensure the safety of our schoolchildren.
School District Letter

Councilman Johnson response to ECSD


The Most Polluted Places in America

Monday, April 27, 2009

Escambia County unfortunately made MSN's list of "The Most Polluted Places in America" with the Escambia Wood Treating superfund site. I look forward to seeing this site cleaned up and redeveloped.

Here's what MSN had to say:

The former Escambia Wood Treating Company in Pensacola, Fla., was on a
26-acre property surrounded by commercial and residential communities. The
company manufactured wood products treated with creosote and pentachlorophenol PCP) between 1942 and 1982, when it was abandoned by the owner. "The facility operated for a long period of time and did not follow environmentally friendly waste management practices," says David Keefer, a Superfund Remedial Section Chief for the EPA. "The spent chemicals were stored in unlined ponds, and would seep into the ground and penetrate the soil."

Pollution from the site has impacted 96 acres of land and has created a
groundwater plume of contamination that extends about 1.3 miles from the site.
The soil and ground water around the site is polluted with creosote, naphthalene, pentachlorophenol, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and dioxin. "These pose carcinogenic risk," says Keefer. Pollution at the site has been deemed toxic enough to relocate the people in several of the surrounding communities. The EPA has so far spent or committed to spend approximately $54.3 million on the site relocation and clean up.

The project has been divided into two parts; dealing with contaminated
soil, and dealing with ground water pollutions. "We are about 60 percent through what consists of excavating the impacted soil on or around the site," says Keefer. Plans include stabilizing, then covering or "capping" contaminated soil. The EPA's actions have, to date, largely eliminated the risk of human exposure to contaminants from the site. Eventually, the community hopes to revitalize the area, creating a commercial site that would employ 400 people from the community. Fully restoring the groundwater will take longer. "The cleaning of the groundwater will take about 10 years," says Keefer. The goal is to clean up the groundwater to the point that it could qualify as drinking water.


Review board application deadlines

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The City Council recently approved revised application deadlines for the City's various review boards. The new deadlines are seen in the table below. These deadlines will take effect in the May meeting cycle. If you have any questions, please contact Community Development at 435-1670.

Application Deadlines Application Deadlines Larry B. Johnson


Earth Day Pensacola

Monday, April 13, 2009

I hope to see a big crowd out at Bayview Park on April 18 for Earth Day Pensacola.


Publix on Bayou & 9th

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Publix is in the process of renovating and reopening the former Albertson's at Bayou Boulevard and 9th Avenue. Although the location is outside of District 4, it sits on Carpenter's Creek, which feeds into Bayou Texar. District 4 is centered on Bayou Texar and I am deeply concerned about stormwater runoff into the bayou, as well as the environmental wellbeing of our entire city.

To that end, I wrote to Publix last year on behalf of Emerald Coastkeeper encouraging them to use as build as eco-friendly as possible and to do whatever necessary to mitigate stormwater runoff into Carpenter's Creek. I am encouraged by their response and look forward to working with Publix as they continue to renovate this property. Publix has pledged to add landscaping to the parking lot at the site which should help beautify the site and reduce the heat produced by the large asphalt lot.

Included below are my letter to Publix as well as their response.

PDF Letter to Publix

PDF Letter From Publix


Blog comments

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It came to my attention this week that the links to add comments here on my blog were not working. I have fixed the problem and the comment links should be working now.

I encourage anyone who has any concerns, questions, or other feedback about any issue to comment add a comment here on my blog. You can also email me at


Library architect selection

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Here is an interested read. Local architect Danny Grundhoefer sent the below letter to City Council members expressing his concern that a selection committee has chosen an out-of-town architect to design the new downtown library. The firm selected by the committee is a small local firm who has partnered with a large Birmingham firm. Mr. Grundhoefer wants the City Council to keep this contract local.
Letter to City Council

I have advocated for the new library to be built to green design standards (LEED certification) and possibly relocated to a new site at Palafox and Gregory. I want this library to be a showcase for our City. Please see the below media coverage of my comments on the library:


City boards

Below is list of all City boards and their members. Members of City boards are nominated and voted on by City Council. I encourage anyone interested in serving on any of these boards who meets the qualifications and residency requirements to complete an application, submit it to the City Clerk, and contact myself or another Council member regarding nomination.

The application is located at the City website (PDF). Once completed, it can be submitted to the City Clerk by mail, fax, email, or in person. See the City website for contact information.

Please note that the terms of all members of the Planning Board, one of the City's most important boards, will expire in July.

Note: The copy below is a little hard to read for some reason. The original is clearer:

Council Boards


Art of Fashion 2009

Please see the Covenant Hospice website for more information about the Art of Fashion 2009 charity fundraiser.

My very good friend Ashley Paige Depew will be participating. Covenant Hospice is a great cause and I hope to see a big crowd at the event.

Covenant Hospice and local artists Nina Fritz and Lisa Kirkman will present the 4th Annual Art of Fashion event, which will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 at New World Landing. This “Kentucky Derby” themed luncheon features a runway fashion show, live and silent art auction, derby hat contest and special drawings.

The runway fashion show will feature casual, swim, career and evening wear for both men and women. Fashion show participants include national swimwear maven and reality TV star, Ashley Paige, The Fashion Connection, Lee Tracy, The Market, Don Alan’s and ETC.

Tickets for the Art of Fashion are only $40 per person prior to April 14, and $50 day of the show. Proceeds from the event will benefit the under-funded and non-reimbursed programs offered by Covenant Hospice. For more information about the event, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets please contact Leah Harrison at 208-7122 or purchase tickets online.


In memory of Larry Sr.

My father, Larry Sr., who passed away at the young age of 50, would have been 75 years old today. Below is a memorial I placed in today's edition of the Pensacola News Journal.

Dad, I'll see you again someday.


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