Kids weigh in on plans for new MLK Recreational Center

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Glenwood community is getting closer to having a new and improved Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center.

The city of Panama City held a youth charrette alongside a fall festival to get the input of kids on what they want to be included in the new rec center.

The kids filled out a survey detailing what amenities they want to see in the new design of the building in exchange for a plate of food and the chance to win prizes.

“Seeing as it does hold a lot of weight in our community, it’s very important that our kids have a say in their future,” said the youth charrette’s host Journey Venible. “If the city doesn’t listen to our present then they have to listen to our kid’s futures as to what they want to put into the recreational center for them best to succeed.”

Some of the proposed features include a basketball court, a splash pad, a climbing structure, and gardens to name a few.

“What we are trying to get is the best rec center that is going to be utilized by the community, not just the community of Glenwood,” said Gregory Dossie with the Student Advocacy Center. “We want a premier building, you know, 21st, 22nd century going from the ground up into the future.”

Panama City Quality of Life Director Sean DePalma said the plans have shifted and the building will now be designed and constructed from scratch.

“As we are going through this process of design and engineering we found out that it would be much more feasible and give us a stronger opportunity of building back a better rec center by building from scratch and not refurbishing the current building,” DePalma said. “We are going to build it anew meaning on a new footprint in the same area and a brand new building basically.”

Depalma said the design phase should be done by the beginning of January and the city will then go out for contracting around February or March.

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