PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — City officials broke ground on a parking lot improvement project Monday afternoon. 

City workers will start turning dirt on 1 of 3 parking lots designated to be renovated in St. Andrews. Officials say they’ve been wanting to do this project for a while. 

“It’s been something we’ve been working on for many years,” said Panama City Commissioner Josh Street. “We’re just now able to get it to fruition. This is a $1 million investment, and three parking lots are going to increase our parking inventory as well as help us make ADA compliance and stormwater and landscape.”

The Oaks by the Park parking lot will be the first to undergo renovations. Officials say the uneven dirt lot makes it difficult for handicapped visitors to walk or use a wheelchair. It also creates a lot of dust during dry summer months and causes stormwater to run onto the road when it rains. The city hopes to complete the lot before the St. Andrews Christmas tree lighting. 

“By taking the current parking lots that we have and getting them to some type of more permanent scenario rather than a temporary basis, it’s going to enable us to park more people and hopefully allow people to enjoy St. Andrews all the more,” said Street. 

The other 2 parking lots undergoing renovations are on West 10th Street and Bayview Avenue. They will be widened and repaved as well to accommodate more visitors. The lots will be renovated one at a time to minimize parking and traffic problems. 

“I’m looking forward to what it’s going to look like in the future,” said Historic St. Andrews Waterfront Partnership Vice President Janis Boatright. “I think they’re going to work on some of the landscaping as well. That’s another added bonus to all this. It’s just another part of the revitalization of Panama City and St. Andrews.” 

The city hopes to acquire space for a parking garage and renovate other dilapidated parking lots in the near future.