Tuesday night, city officials and developer Robert Sonnenblick held a special meeting to reveal updated Marina Redesign Plans. Sonnenblick presented the public with a 3D model that provided a detailed showing of the revisions. The updated plans were designed and revealed after a string of special meetings to get public input.
“I’m excited about the marina project. I think having a lighthouse, restaurant, hotel, all of the things I’ve heard about it are really positive things,” said Little Mustard Seed Owner Greg Snow.
Snow has operated his business out of a shop off Harrison Avenue for two years. He, along with the commission, believe the revised plans will improve economic growth downtown.
“I’d really like to have some residents at the marina project, more people that will eat at our restaurants here, shop at our store, shop for a quick gift maybe on the way home,” said Snow.
“The mayor has said and all of us have said we want to unleash the potential of downtown Panama City, and this is the catalyst that can do that. This can bring Harrison Avenue to life,” said Panama City Commissioner Billy Rader.
Wayne Wright has been a Panama City resident for over thirty five years. He has followed the redesign plans every since they began years ago and remains hopeful that the project is actually moving forward.
“I think it would be beautiful now that they got the wheels in motion, if they can get it to go in the way that it’s supposed to go and everybody do their end of it,” said Wright.
Rader believes Sonnenblick has incorporated the components that citizens have emphasized the most.
“He can’t do everything that everybody he wants, but he’s going to do the best that he can and what his bank will allow him to do and what the commission will approve. Nothing has been approved. No contract has been signed. We need to be realistic about this,” said Rader.
The final plans for the redeveloped marina are due by late May. However, Sonnenblick is requesting an extension. The commission is assuring that more public meetings will be held before any plans are finalized.