Plaza de Luna
|Plaza de Luna|
|Size||100,000 sq. ft.|
|Facilities||fountain, waterfront promenade, traffic loop with parking, wireless Internet (planned), event terrace|
|Operated by||City of Pensacola|
Plaza de Luna is a waterfront park overlooking Pensacola Bay. It is located at the southern terminus of Palafox Street, by the Palafox Pier development, on the site of the former Bayfront Auditorium, which was demolished in July 2005 following damage from Hurricane Ivan.
The $3 million project was funded jointly by the Community Redevelopment Agency ($2.1 million) and FEMA ($800,000). On June 22, 2006, the City of Pensacola voted to name the new park for Tristán de Luna y Arellano, whose 1559 expedition near Pensacola was America's first European settlement.
Construction was substantially completed in January 2007, after which the fountain at the north end of the park was installed. The park was formally dedicated on November 16, 2007, the same day Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson held a rally there.
Plaza de Luna is laid out around a driving circle with 40-56 parking spaces available on-site, including 4 handicapped spaces. The centerpiece, at the northern entrance, is a "fountain courtyard" where children may play in the interactive water jets. Two commemorative plaques, including the original dedication marker from the Municipal Auditorium, are attached to the fountain's brick sitting wall. The park also features an 1,800-foot promenade for fishing and sunset viewing, and a "sunset terrace" and amphitheater sits on the southwest corner where small gatherings or performances may be held.
A private Palafox Pier marina is located on the park's west side, but visitors may walk along the marina's breakwater. A docking port is located on the east side for visiting ships.
Public wireless Internet access is planned, but not yet implemented.
A non-profit organization called Celebrate Pensacola, in collaboration with Fiesta of Five Flags, has sought funds to built a 55-foot statue to Tristán de Luna in time for Pensacola's 450th anniversary celebration. The statue, which would consist of a 9-foot sculpture atop a 44-foot monument, is estimated to cost $700,000. The groups have asked county and city governments for $150,000 each, with the additional $400,000 raised privately, but the Pensacola City Council has delayed their decision until other options are presented.
The city makes Plaza de Luna available for rental for private receptions, concerts and festivals. The fees (subject to taxes) are $100 for groups of up to 100, $250 for groups between 101-500 people, and $500 for larger, "festival"-sized groups. Public liability insurance is required, and the public access to the park's perimeter must be allowed throughout the events.
- Mark O'Brien. "Fortunately, some council members stand tall against bad statue idea." Pensacola News Journal, November 16, 2007.
- Park rental information