Sept. 25, 2023
Bay Bluffs Park Update
Bay Bluffs Park remains closed indefinitely, as it has been deemed an unsafe structure by the City of Pensacola.
The 22.5-acre park’s preliminary estimates for repair exceed $1 million, which is significantly more than the $200,000 allocated for Bay Bluffs Park in the Local Option Sales Tax Parks Improvements fund.
Structural issues such as unleveled deck boards, sagging decks, damaged stair beam connections, missing and broken guard rails, along with cracked girder beams and pilings have all caused the beloved city park to close until funding resources are secured.
Established in 1984, Bay Bluffs Park has a unique incline and surrounding environment presenting challenges to major repairs of the overall structure. Although some deterioration of the boardwalk can be considered typical of construction in a damp shaded environment, extreme weather events and a considerable amount of erosion on the south end of the boardwalk exacerbate the deterioration of the structure.
"The decision to close the boardwalk indefinitely is a difficult one and was made with the safety of citizens as a top priority," Interim Parks and Recreation Director Tonya Byrd said. "Our intention is to develop a plan for future park amenities and improvements incorporating the natural beauty of the area and providing recreational space that provides equitable access to this unique and beloved park. This will take a combination of citizen input, planning, and a commitment of resources and funding to accomplish."
The city plans to pursue grants and other funding opportunities, including partnerships, to restore Bay Bluffs Park. While plans for the future of the park are undetermined, emphasis on connecting citizens to nature and preserving the cultural and recreational significance of the park for future generations is a priority.
The city is preparing to begin the bid process for the demolition of the Bay Bluffs Park boardwalk. However, the pavilion and scenic overlook structures will remain and reopen once the area is deemed safe.
As an additional safety measure, the city will be closing the parking lot to further restrict public access.
Bay Bluffs Park is located at 3400 Scenic Highway. For more information about Bay Bluffs Park, visit the City of Pensacola website.