PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Business owners say they are excited as construction begins on a Harrison Avenue streetscape project.

This project will improve the overall aesthetic of the area and fix infrastructure. 

Nate Taylor the Operating Partner of C&G Sporting Goods said it’s time to start taking pride in downtown. 

“This is the spark of something that’s much larger,” Taylor said.

The revitalization of downtown has been many years in the making. 

Gilbert Hamati, the owner of Trigo downtown, said this streetscape project will push Panama City into the future and help the economy.

“It is definitely going to increase foot traffic,” Hamati said. “Hopefully, it is going to bring more people downtown.”

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The plan is to add cobblestone streets, new water, and sewer lines, wider sidewalks and replace the palm trees with new oak trees.

“Yeah we lost a lot during Michael and it’s time to put new roots down,” Taylor said. 

Phase one of the project stretches from Government Street to Fourth Street. They will work on each of those in chunks. Right now Harrison Avenue is closed from Government Street to Beach Drive.

“It’s about the atmosphere,” Hamati said. ‘If you have something to give to the people, people are going to come down and see it.”

Taylor said the revitalization won’t stop on Harrison Avenue. 

“It’s not just going to affect Harrison Avenue,” Taylor said. “This is going to be trickling down through Beach Drive, it’s going to be trickling to the Cove, it’s going to be trickling to even the Glenwood community.”

City officials say phase one of the project will take about a year. It will cost the city around $7.2 million.