The Trillium property is the most common name of the 27.5-acre parcel of waterfront land that sits south of Main Street roughly between Spring and De Villiers Streets, overlooking Pensacola Bay. It is owned by the City of Pensacola and will be the site of the Vince Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park.
Purchase by City
On May 31, 2001, a Festival Park project was proposed by Bullock Tice Associates to occupy the site. The $40 million plan, which included a 16-acre public park, an $18 million auditorium (to replace the aging Bayfront Auditorium on Palafox Street) and space for future development, was approved by the Pensacola City Council on November 21, 2002. Initial work had already begun, including a massive concrete group called Citizens Against Trillium petitioned for a referendum on the project. On March 25, 2003 the citizens of Pensacola voted to overturn the Council's decision and scrap the plan.
Community Maritime Park
In late 2004, months after Hurricane Ivan devastated the Pensacola area, city leaders including City Manager Tom Bonfield and Mayor John Fogg met with retired Vice Admiral Jack Fetterman and others to discuss ideas about a possible "maritime park" project for the Trillium site. The Community Maritime Park Associates (CMPA) was formed and presented a preliminary proposal to the Pensacola City Council, which approved the concept on January 18, 2005.
In opposition to the proposed development, Charles Fairchild (a leader of the earlier Citizens Against Trillium group) organized another group called Save Our City with Marty Donovan, the only Pensacola City Council member to vote against the plan. The group gathered enough petitions to force a voter referendum on the issue. The Community Maritime Park project survived the September 5, 2006 election.
Under the plan, the Trillium property will be managed by the non-profit CMPA organization (for a perfunctory $1/year lease) and will include a multi-use stadium and ballpark for the Pensacola Pelicans, a 50,000 square-foot maritime museum, University of West Florida classrooms, a conference center, mixed-used commercial developments, and large public green spaces along Pensacola Bay. All net revenue collected by the Park will be deposited into the City of Pensacola budget.
The soil of the Trillium property is contaminated by potentially toxic materials, including arsenic and petroleum. In addition, the Community Maritime Park development will require extensive wetland mitigation work.
- "City OKs contract to buy Trillium site." Pensacola News Journal, March 29, 2000.