PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Panama City officials cut the ribbon to open one of the biggest access points to the St. Andrews Bay since Hurricane Michael Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Greg Brudnicki says, they used a different approach in getting the ramp open quicker than anticipated and AMI Kids and divers at Panama City Marina Institute played an important role to get it open.

“The staff divers and the kids that dive and the kids that were snorkelers went down there and found trash that was down there, the obstruction. For the really big pieces, we used inflatable float bags, lifted them up and moved them out of the channel,” said AMI Kids Executive Director, Ron Boyce. 

Boyce says even though the kids get diving experience, being apart of this project is special. He says it also plays a big part in their organization. “Way cool! I mean this boat ramp is really special to Panama City marina students, it’s right next door to us so this is where we launch our boats and it’s right there so we love this,” said Boyce. 

Brudnicki says he knows how important the marina and access to the bay is for the community, and he’s happy to finally get things rolling. “Going and getting in your boat and getting in the water in Panama City is like for most people getting in their cars and going for a leisurely drive. This bay is amazing and the people that live here know it.”

City officials say this ramp does not have any lighting installed yet so it is only open from dawn until dusk.

When it comes to the Fourth of July, the celebration will still be held at the marina but will be laid out just a little different due to construction and safety concerns. 

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