PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County leaders are preparing for a special public workshop on Thursday concerning the East Pass, holding a question and answer session for anyone interested in the reopening of the channel.

The Old Pass across from Tyndall Air Force Base has been a major topic of discussion in the community, as many say the health of St. Andrews Bay has declined since it’s natural closing over a decade ago.

Now, commissioners are working to reopen the Old Pass to allow for more circulation of Gulf water into the St. Andrews Bay following Department of Environmental Protection study procedures to do so.

Commissioner Bill Dozier said it’s been a big project that he’s been trying to get completed for years.

“It’s very important that we do this I think for the life of our bay,” he said. “The community as a whole, I know I’ve had a number of people talk to me about opening the pass so we’re working hard on their behalf to get this done.”

The public meeting and workshop will be held on Thursday, May 20th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Government Center in Panama City. 

“As we move through the study our goal is to put all the pieces into place so we can open the Old Pass,” Dozier said. “That’s the end goal, is to open the Old Pass.”