Bay County responds to Sapp House concerns

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Bay County responded Monday to concerns about the Sapp House.

A commission meeting agenda memo had some residents speaking out on social media over the weekend. The agenda calls for the Bay County Commission to decide on purchasing the property.

Panama City residents have been concerned that the historic home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be demolished in order to create more parking space for the county courthouse.

“We have an obligation to our citizens to make sure that there’s adequate parking for them to come to the courts,” said Bay County Commissioner Robert Carroll. He’s also telling residents not to worry; it’s never been their plan to demolish the home.

“I don’t think that’s anyone’s intent to ever tear down that house,” he said. “It’s historical, it’s on the national registry.”

He says their actual plan, if they decide to purchase the property, would be to relocate the home; not to get rid of it.

“You need to preserve it, you need to take care of it because it’s a sign of our history,” said Carroll.

Bob Hurst, the Vice President of the Bay County Historical Society says “he hopes the home will be saved.”

The Sapp House was built in 1916, and was the first home in Panama City to have a heated water system, two bathrooms, and an elevator. The home was restored by former Panama City Mayor Lauren DeGeorge, and placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 2003.

Hurst said moving it could have consequences.

“If they did move it to another site, it would probably lose it’s integrity and would have to be taken off the historical register,” said Hurst.

None of these plans are set in stone. The county is only deciding whether or not to purchase the property at Tuesday’s commission meeting. The future of the home is still under discussion.

“I don’t think staff’s intention or any of us board members would ever vote to tear down a house of that significance,” said Carroll.

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