PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City is looking to make changes to the A D Harris learning village.
Panama City Commissioner Janice Lucas says the 11th St. historical location is losing money every year.
Economic Director Grey Dodge told residents at the Oct. 18 workshop that the site’s operating costs sit at $241,000 a year and it only makes $55,000. Creating a deficit of $186,000 dollars a year.
The city has cut security from the location to help with operating costs and is looking for other options.
“We’re not going to reach that point where we have to get rid of this learning facility. We are bringing on new to new tenants and are looking to bring on other tenants as well. In the meantime, there is the spirit and energy of bringing in grants,” said Janice Lucas, Panama City commissioner.
Lucas said they want to focus on synergy and bring back a community group to oversee the facility and move it forward.
“This place, the A D Harris Learning Village, can be an incubator and a learning center for promoting small business growth as well,” said Lucas.
Residents shared thoughts about making A D Harris open to culinary classes and childcare.
“We’ve got to bring that sense of pride back. And I think this is a great place to start. It’s named after Mr. A D Harris, one of the legends in our community. So why not revitalize it? Why not bring it back? Why not make it mean something again,” said Tony Bostick, community activist.
A D Harris originally opened in the 1930s as a segregated school. It is now a historical landmark serving Bay County non-profits.
Lucas said they will announce a future meeting for the location on the Panama City website.