BAY COUNTY, Fla. - It was a historical day for Bay County Tuesday as the Panama City Port Authority began its expansion to double the port.
"We're really redeveloping the port facilities for Panama City from 70, 80 years ago. We're starting to redevelop those into the new East Terminal," Port Director Wayne Stubbs said.
Authority members held a ceremonial first pour in the morning for its expansion near the paper mill. Elected and business leaders attended and took part in a tradition of throwing coins into the construction site.
"Well, we wanted everyone to be invested in our project," Stubbs joked. "But seriously, I think that's the tradition of what a first pour is."
"They threw a coin in for their family member or for their child or grandchild or whoever it may be because this is the future of Bay County," Rep. Jay Trumbull said.
The first concrete poured will be the foundation for a 250,000 square-foot warehouse that will hold wood products. The first phase also includes railroad and road infrastructure.
"It's a really wonderful thing that the port is growing at the rate that it is. We've had more tonnage coming in year after year after year," Trumbull said.
The expansion will double the working acreage of the port which will accommodate the potential for more ships and businesses.
The port authority will also be deepening the channel to accommodate larger ships through St. Andrew Bay. They have been working with lawmakers to secure federal funding for the project.
"We see this as an opportunity to really continue growing for decades to come," Stubbs added.
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