Call it the legacy of the 2014 Battle of North Hill.
The folks who live in Wedgewood, clad in orange and out in force at the June 26 Escambia County Commission meeting, stood up for the health and well-being of their neighborhood.
On that night, their government listened.
But to make permanent change, the folks in Wedgewood have got to keep raising their voices.
Media coverage of the Rolling Hills C&D pit highlighted concerns in the Wedgewood neighborhood that have lingered for years. In April County Commissioners voted to rezone 10 acres off of Kemp Road, opening the way for another borrow pit to come into that neighborhood.
On June 3, commissioner delayed renewal of a permit for the Longleaf C&D pit to come back into use when it was revealed during the meeting that the pit, owned by Waste Management Inc., is under a groundwater remediation plan from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The residents of Wedgewood again voiced complaints they’ve had for decades about what the slew of borrow pits and landfills in their neighborhood have done to their home values, health and quality of life.
Clearly, based on recent events, the measure approved directing county staff to review county ordinance and procedures related to borrow pits and landfills to ensure consistent enforcement is needed.
Let it also be a sign that the voices from all of our neighborhoods are being heard.
The power of community voices has been put in stark relief this year in other parts of our community.
Residents of historic North Hill rose up in public and on social media to protest a plan to put a state probation office into the long vacant former Coca-Cola plant at 1625 N. Palafox St.
The Department of Corrections agreed to remain at 3101 N. Davis Highway and continue the search for another location. Though they property’s owner, developer Nathan Head, says the signed lease he has means the state still has to pay him $1.5 million.
Neighbors in Scenic Heights also beat back a plan by East Hill Baptist Church to rezone a portion of its property so that it could be sold and a Dollar General discount store be built near the intersection of Spanish Trail and Summit Boulevard.
The Say No to Dollar General group also skillfully used social media to spread their message and raise awareness among neighbors to show up at the public meetings where the issue would be discussed to make sure they never missed a chance to press their case to their elected officials.
The folks from Scenic Heights and North Hill were heard -- and heeded.
The folks from Wedgewood, an historically black neighborhood settled mainly by middle class folks who pass their property through the family, deserve no less.