PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Residents are expressing concern over the government’s plans to possibly develop over three thousand acres of unused property on Tyndall Air Force Base.
As News 13 previously reported, Tyndall AFB will soon be holding a virtual industry day to discuss developing that based property through “enhanced use leases.”
While Tyndall and community leaders have expressed excitement over the project, some residents are now arguing for that undeveloped land to remain untouched.
“I think we should leave it natural,” said Thomas Cook, a long-time Panama City resident who has started a petition in favor of keeping the hundreds of acres of trees and coastline undeveloped. “As a lifelong resident here of Florida it really broke my heart to even have anybody decide to use this pristine land that we have and want to do development with it.”
The online petition has garnered more than 1,500 signatures as of Wednesday night. People have commented on it with similar thoughts as Cook; many said they would rather see the land preserved and turned into a state or national park for people to use for camping and outdoor recreation.
“We don’t have any more land being created in the state of Florida,” said Cook. “This is one of the lifetime opportunities for a piece of property that hasn’t been touched for nearly 78 years along the Gulf coast to remain in its pristine state.”
Tyndall Air Force Base community planner Traycee Chapman is one of the leaders of the EUL project at the base. She said whatever development happens there would take the environment and history of the property into consideration.
“There’s a lot of history here, so any development that we do would definitely compliment our natural and cultural resources,” said Chapman.
Cook said it should remain untouched.
“I mean you can’t imagine a place any more beautiful than out there on the shoreline of Tyndall,” he said. “Trying to take a piece of property that we have sitting there along the Gulf coast, I think it needs to stay like it is, natural.”
The government’s virtual industry day to discuss developing that land with local industry, development and municipal partners is still set for June 12th.