I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Rawson Lane, Part II: The Economic Value PCC brings to Escambia County

The vote on vacating Rawson Lane to Pensacola Christian College was put off earlier this month.  It will be voted upon this Thursday, it is on the agenda.

Over the last several months, I have been contacted by many constituents that are in strong support of vacating Rawson Lane.  Several citizens that are strongly opposed to this action spoke at our meeting earlier this month.

Arguments could be made to support either position, and there are some consequences to consider if we do vacate this road to the college.  But there are numerous positive benefits that the community as a whole gains from closing the road--most notably a massive construction project that will allow the college to continue its growth and that will grow the jobs base here locally.  Recently, a presentation was sent to commissioners detailing the latest economic impact PCC has on our economy locally.  It is significant.

This vote is about more than a road, in my estimation.  Over the last several months I have been contacted by folks that simply demonstrate a disdain for this organization--which is sad.  At a public meeting on this subject held a few months back at Brentwood Elementary School, one man approached me and said "They don't do anything for the community, they don't deserve the road, all PCC cares about is PCC!"  I recently received a long letter from a close neighbor, a retired attorney, detailing all the reasons this vacation should not be approved by the BCC.  Again, an almost jealous disdain for this school oozed from the pages of that letter.  That gentleman claimed PCC pays "NO" taxes--but that simply is not true.

For my part:  I support the mission of PCC, what they do for youth and their positive impact on the lives of so many.  I am happy to see them grow and succeed and being a Christian man myself--I love that they lead many to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This matters, this is important.  In fact, if we boil the whole thing down to the essentials of existance on this planet--nothing is more important than this, nothing.  It really bothers me that Christians beat up on this school--it is perplexing and I don't get this.

So to the haters that hate PCC, I say this:  PCC does do impactful things in the community, they offer very reasonable tuition for many that would otherwise be unable to afford private school.  They offer summer programs for area youth that could not otherwise afford such programs, and Camp of the Pines is a first-rate summer camp program that offers area youth an amazing week-long summer camp experience for a dirt-cheap price. Two of my three children attended this camp and my youngest went to PCA for pre-school--which was inexpensive and first-rate in quality.

Some people do some things that appear to be beneficial to a community, and these folks beat their chests about this and self-promote the apparently generous and selfless actions they take and donations they make (while not spotlighting the concomitant personal, ancillary, and tax beneficial consequences such gestures inure to such persons or entities)  This is 0ff-putting.  This is disingenuous.

PCC doesn't do this-- they quietly do things that benefit our community, our country, and the world--they do this in so many ways.  This subtle and subdued approach to philanthropy and good deeds is refreshing, uncommon and admirable.

So this vote is important for many reasons and will generate passionate discourse and emotional testimony from those on both sides of the equation.  I can't wait, I can't wait to vote this issue and move on.


Anonymous said...

Excellent blog post Mr. Bergosh.
Thank you for being willing to show the value PCC brings to Escambia County.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you!

Unknown said...

I went there. As a resident in this town I think the road should remain public. As a cut through it saves a lot of time in traffic when getting back and forth from Airport. Blvd. To Brent Lane.
As a female student it was disheartening to learn I could not be employed off campus while I was a student because I was not a male.

While PCC might do some things in our community such as witnessing door to door or visiting to minister I do not believe they would do more than they already do simply because of a road closure.
The road closure would only benefit them bc it would allow their already expansive properties to be expanded further. This in no way would benefit the community. In fact it would back traffic up even more.
Seems the only ones that would benefit from the closure would be PCC. I am not for the road closure.

Harmony Wiessner
Former student of Criminal Justice studies

Anonymous said...

Jeff, your comments brought tears of appreciation to my eyes on behalf of those of us who choose to raise our families in Pensacola in order to be a part of the good things that characterize Pensacola Christian. Thank you for seeing us for who we are and who we hope to be by God's grace.

Amber Bowman said...

I was also a student of PCC and know first hand that they didn't allow female students to work off campus for safety reason. Let's face it, women are subseptable to attacks than men. Also, Rawson is a great cut through street but so is the ramp litterally feet from it. The Lord has seen fit to let PCC grow so that more young people as ourselves can be trained to be a great ambassador for Christ and who are we to stand in the way of God's work? Just a thought to think about.
I drive and cross that road daily now and I am in full support of this road closing. I only wish others can see the TRUE reasons why.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're correct. The statistics and the facts make the decision here an obvious one. Thank you for taking the effort to look at it objectively.

Amber Bowman said...

I was also a student at PCC and I know firsthand that they did not allow female students to work off campus for safety reasons. Let's face it, Women are more susceptible to attacks can male students.
Rawson Lane is a great cut-through road but so is the ramp that's literally feet away with a light, it's own turn lane AND a faster speed limit.
The Lord has seen fit to allow PCC to grow so that young people can be trained to be great ambassadors for Christ. Who are we to stand in the way of Gods work! The more PCC grows, The more people that can sit under the Word of God and learn to be better Christians.
I drive on Rawson Lane everyday several times a day and I am in full support in the closing of Rawson Lane. I just wish the community could see the TRUE reason behind it all.
Thank you for your artical and your support! I'll be praying that God will be glorified and will bless you in your efforts!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review. When the matter of closing Rawson was approached years ago, I was against it because it would make life slightly more inconvenient. However, this time around, they explained it much more thoroughly, and while I will miss using the cut-through of Rawson, I believe the benefits to the school and community outweigh the negative aspects. I am praying that the measure will pass!

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Bergosh,

Thank you for your service to the community and your prayerful consideration of this topic. Innuendo, half-truths and misinformed opinions abound for such a public discussion. It's unfortunate that those "against" the vacation of Rawson Lane perpetuate these as "fact". But then again, that appears to be the nature of social media these days. I agree that the I-110 surface/frontage roads make Rawson lane superfluous. The fact that not a single access road into or out of the Norwood neighborhood is affected by this closure indicates the true impact to be minimal. I dear say, the manner in which CSX blocks Airport Road daily seems to be a greater issue for folks than having Rawson lane open or closed. And as a county taxpayer, I welcome the opportunity to be rid of a substandard road. I hope you and your colleagues on the commission agree.

Lynda said...

I have liveed in the Norwood subdivision behind PCC for almost 35 years. Will the closure be inconvenient? Sure. But, I will find another routine route.
But, I do not believe that all of this "hubaloo" is about a road closure. The bottom-line issue, from my perspective as I have spoken to many of our neighbors--both for and against, is change. Change is hard. But progress is inevitable. And to halt progress because people don't like change is unfortunate, and in this case, dangerous to our local economy.
Secondly, the issue seems to be based on a deeply rooted disdain for PCC. This is sad because it has even affected folks in Norwood. I appreciated so much a neighbor's comment to my husband. She is strongly against the closure and mentioned that she loves her PCC neighbors and hopes they don't hate her. Our answer to her? That she has as much right to her opinion as we do to ours!
We have been taught to do all in our power to live peaceably with all men. I know that is my goal, and I have seen over the years that PCC has as well.
Thank you, Mr. Bergosh, for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Very well written article. I also attended PCC and have lived in this area for 18 years. The dislike of the college by some makes no sense. I do believe it stems from the unknown. People believe things that are not true or hear something that has been twisted. PCC has a positive impact on our community. They are growing and desire the road closure. Years ago Fuhrman Drive was closed. People quickly adjusted to new routes. This will happen again if Rawson is closed. The road is in poor condition anyway. They will save the county the money to have it fixed. B Peebles

Mark The Eye Guy said...

How about we focus on what PCC is really wanting. They want to connect the two properties by closing the road. This will allow them to no longer pay taxes now that the properties will be connected to where they worship. This is in fact one of many hidden agendas. Jeff, I am also a former student of PCA all through grade school. My three children attended PCA for many years. Unfortunately my first wife tragically past away. Joseph and Grace's fifth grade teacher was one of my patients for years at my office Fifty Dollar Eye Guy located within a half of mile to the PCC campus. My current wife is a former employee, staff, teacher, of seven years at PCA. My wife attended school in the PCA program from grade school through high school and graduating from the Pensacola Christian College going on to work in A Beka books and for the academy. After seven years and witnessing many different inside things I agreed not to disclose she gave her notice and left at the end of the school year on good terms. It was public knowledge that my wife and I had been dating. Later we were engaged. The fine Christian school you speak so highly of sent a hand delivered letter to my office stating Chandler my youngest son was no longer welcome to attend the school. Keep in mind Chandler was an excellent student with zero discipline action ever. In addition this fine Christian organization black listed my business FIFTY DOLLAR EYE GUY at their school. Keep in mind we extend staff and students a 50% discount everyday to be a blessing to them. Our company has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, the highest rated and reviewed Optical company in Pensacola. We are a Christian business who actually gives back thousands to our community. There are many hidden secrets that the PCC keeps underwraps. They are NOT the nice Christian neighbors they proclaim to be. Jeff, I challenge you to walk through Cordova Mall and start asking people of Escambia county their opinion of PENSACOLA Christian. You will be hard pressed to find one person who has a favorable opinion of the organization. Why is that? Because they have done very little for their community. They simply are not good neighbors. They do not come to the commission with clean hands. There goal has been for years to avoid paying taxes. A fine example is when they were required to pay the IRS 44.5 million in taxes during the 1990's. What happened to the property at the corner of Airport and Rawson lane that sits empty? This is again where PCC cut every tree off the property including many hundred year old oak trees without the proper permits. One reason it hasn't been built on. My point is very simple. PCC does not come to the commission with clean hands. Yes, I understand you cannot sell them the road. I have a solution that is fair and benefits Everyone. Give them a 100 year lease for three million upfront and a dollar a year for the remaining years. This money belongs to the tax payers. Do what is right for the citizens who elected you. Don't give away the road and justify it as saving money for tax payers. Justify is just a lie. The truth is they want it. The tax payers of Escambia county are due some type of payment for the road. Be creative. Don't be played to be the fool.

Anonymous said...

Like I said...Innuendo, half-truths and misinformed opinions abound. (I forgot conspiracy theories). Wow!

Anonymous said...

The "us" VS. "them" mentality is really sad. "Do what's right for the citizens that elected you"??? Like folks that work at PCC aren't citizens that vote?? Please refrain from nonsensical comments unless you have something pertinent to the issue to say.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Mark the Eye Guy---I appreciate your input, but I honestly feel that PCC is being ganged-up on unfairly and I feel there is a lot of pent-up hostility directed toward this college that is unfair. I don't like to see people treated this way---particularly when they do so much in our community and our economy and they are a Christian organization. I don't understand the level of hatred and I will not base my vote on rumor, speculation, and/or inuendo.

Mickey Price said...

A sad day for Escambia County when the will of the people was not followed. Shame on all of the Commissioners for voting to close this road. The only people for closing this road was the college employees and its students. They were told to be vocal this time around. I have been using this road for more than 50 years. It belongs to the people. The people hurt by this road closure are the poor, the elderly and the minorities that live in district 3. What a disgrace for the good people of our County.

Anonymous said...

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I tto find thjis topic to be actually onne thing that I think I'd by no means understand.
It sort of feels too complicated and very vast for me.
I'm looking forward to your subsequent post,
I'll attempt to get thee grasp of it!