PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Four years after Hurricane Michael, some Panama City residents can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Within the next two months, 21 homeowners could sell their homes to the city for market value.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is funding the buy-out program through Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery.
The homes included in the program have routinely suffered from flooding.
They are located on the 1800 block of Cincinnati Avenue and Lake Avenue.
Phase one could use four out of $5 mil. allocated to this specific problem, pending DEO approval.
“It’s completely voluntary so if they don’t want to participate they do not have to participate,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said. “That’s a very key part of this program. This is not a domain or forcing someone from their home. It’s giving someone the option to leave freely, willingly and get paid full market value for their house regardless of whether it floods or not.”
Street said they hope to hear back from the DEO in the next couple of weeks.
If so, the buys could take place within 60 days.
The city plans to demolish the homes and build retention ponds to mitigate flooding.