PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City residents have officials to discuss a proposed multi-use pathway along the south side of Beach Drive.
“So for over a hundred years, there’s been this contemplation of doing a beachside sidewalk,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said.
Right now there’s a sidewalk on the north side of Beach Drive across from the bay.
“It’s not considered a multi-use sidewalk or multi-use path because of all the intersections. And you have to stop,” Panama City Public Works Director Jonathan Hayes said.
The proposal is for a 10 to 12-foot wide multiuse sidewalk that would span over a mile and a half down Beach Drive from Frankford Avenue to 6th Street.
“So the beach drive, multi-use sidewalk, is a Florida legislature appropriate project through. FDOT To just increase the walkability in between the historic communities of St Andrews and downtown Panama City,” Hayes said
While some residents do support the proposal.
“I don’t see why it would be a bad idea,” Zachary Kniffin said. “We have the sidewalk on the other side of the road, and I think it’d be nice to have one where you could actually see the water and it would give easier access to the water.”
Others are strongly against it.
“To me, it’s a bad allocation of tax money,” Beach Drive resident Hank Picken said. “The other thing worthy of note is of the 50 residents or so on West Beach Drive, 80 some odd percent have signed a petition asking that the city not do this.’
Panama City Mayor Michael Rohan said residents’ opinions will be considered.
“Now they want to be heard,” Rohan said. “And to our credit of the city, we’re going to let them be heard. We’re going to talk to them and try to make a decision. I don’t think it’s not all said and done yet.”
Panama City Commission Josh Street, however, said the project is well underway.
“From a standpoint of the money’s been allocated, the project’s been moving forward, we’re not running into any kind of property rights issues,” Street said. “o I think we’re really just kind of trying to get the best plan together that works for the residents who live alongside as well as the rest of the city.”
The city selected Panhandle Engineering firm for the project.
They are currently working on a number of conceptual plans for the Beach Drive
On October 24 Panama City is holding an open house at the Bay County Government Center on 11th Street.
Residents are invited to come ask questions and offer ideas on the project.