Bay County Transportation Planning Organization hosts open house

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Transportation Planning Organization hosted an open house Thursday night. 

“It’s just kind of getting the big picture of what people want to see within the 20 to 25 years for transportation,” said Emerald Coast Regional Council Transportation Manager Mary Beth Washnock. 

The open house had three different stations where residents had the chance to learn more about future projects and voice what they would like to see moving forward. 

“To me, it suggests that they have the desire to communicate with the citizens and to seek their input to the future of the long-range planning efforts for our networks of roadways within Bay County,” said Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen. 

But some residents stopped by to discuss a specific project. Lynne Schneider was one of the multiple residents who came to voice their concerns about the new flyover project at the intersection of U.S. 98 and 231. 

“I think it is going to be off-putting for people who want to develop downtown,” Schneider said.  “When they come and see this massive tower of concrete and how is that going to impact their perception of the downtown and are they going to want to come down here.” 

Although they did not have the chance to stand up and speak, they were able to fill out a comment card with their concerns. 

“I encourage everyone, whatever you’re feelings are, this is a participatory event,” Schneider said. “Not just today, not just right now, but we have the TPO that is made up of our elected officials and so we need to let them know.” 

The Florida Department of Transportation will be representing their plan addressing citizen’s issues of the flyover at the next Bay County TPO meeting on February 5th at 3:30 p.m. at the Callaway Arts and Conference Center. 

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