Girls Inc. of Bay County now landowners


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For 43 years, nonprofit Girls Inc. has leased the land its building sits on from Bay County.

Despite owning the building, once it was damaged by Hurricane Michael, there were challenges.

“Not owning our land was preventing us from being able to get a construction loan or any line of credit to be able to fix our building,” executive director Niki Kelly said.

Girls Inc. is in line for grants and insurance money, but that money is reimbursement. After one meeting with the county and a series of emails throughout the past year, the land acquisition was finalized Tuesday.

“The county really wanted to help make this happen for us because they believe in us and they believe in the value we add to the community,” Kelly said.

Kelly said while Hurricane Michael brought destruction, it also brought gifts and opportunities. Before the storm, they had never contemplated buying the land. 10,000 additional square feet of land were given to Girls Inc. as part of the deal

Once things are settled with the insurance company, architects and engineers will help the organization decide what’s next for the building.

“We’re still not sure if that is a repair and modify or a complete rebuild in order to get it to where it needs to be, but then we’ll start moving forward,” Kelly said.

Ultimately, Kelly wants the Girls Inc. Center to have a full size gym and community access rooms for meetings or classes.

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