Have Your Say on the Future of Former Helicopter Field
A 500-acre former helicopter training field in Beulah is ready for a makeover…or at least a plan. The landing field, known as OLF-8, is now the property of the citizens of Escambia County, and county commissioners want the public to help decide its future as part of a master plan for the site that can maximize the possibility of bringing high-paying jobs to the site.
After being postponed due to Hurricane Sally, the internationally-recognized town planning firm DPZ will lead a series of online community meetings to gather input and ideas on the future development of OLF-8, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 13. The series of meetings, called a “charrette,” allows citizens and stakeholders to participate directly in the planning and design process.
Marina Khoury, partner with DPZ, said the charrette process brings the community together with the planning and design team to collaborate on the master plan. “The term charrette is a French word that means ‘an intense and collaborative planning workshop,’ so we need the community’s input to help us develop master plans,” said Khoury.
“At the beginning of the charrette, we will present the research and analysis of the site, as well as a few different scenarios for the development of the OLF-8 site. For the next 10 days, we will be asking the citizens to share their feedback, suggestions, and ideas with us as we refine those scenarios,” Khoury continued. “This allows the community to see their input and feedback implemented and incorporated into the plan, almost in realtime.”
For those who would like to participate in the charrette process, there will be 12 different events that you will be able to check into virtually. Seven of those will be small group meetings where topics such as transportation and infrastructure, marketability and jobs, and community needs will be addressed.
Three larger evening presentations will update the community on the data and analysis gathered during the project, share initial, intermediate, and final design scenarios, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Each of these evening presentations will build on the previous presentations, showing the progress and input collected from the public during the process.
In addition, walkability expert Jeff Speck will present two special seminars on the broader concepts of walkability and master planning. These sessions will provide citizens and stakeholders with a higher-level understanding of the concepts and best practices within the master plan.
Information about all of these sessions, and ways to participate, can be found by clicking here.
Citizens wishing to participate who do not have internet access should contact OLF-8 Project Manager Terri Berry at 850-595-3421. Accommodations will be made.