PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Residents got a look tonight at the preliminary plans for Bay Memorial Park which surrounds the Panama City Garden Club.
The park took heavy damage during Hurricane Michael and city leaders have decided it needs to become more appealing and useful for residents.
Dozens of residents were there to see the design the city is proposing.
They had a chance to tell officials what they like about it, and what they didn’t like about it.
City leaders are now crafting design plans that will restore the park and preserve its history.
“This site houses the first elementary school in Panama City, which is actually located adjacent to this wall,” Panama City Quality of Life Director Sean DePalma said. “And what we’re going to do is we’re going to specifically have our designers rehouse that location here on the property and then at that point, we’re going to make sure that we bring it up to all the historical standards so that we can then attempt to put it on the national registry”
But they want the community to have a say in the plans.
“What we’re doing is working with the community to get their input and our architects that we hired for this project and just making sure that whatever the community’s really looking to obtain under this park, that we strive to provide that to them and so we’re just excited about that,” DePalma said.
One of their biggest concerns was parking and sidewalk accessibility.
“Well, we’ve been very strategic on how we’re planning parking for this facility and one of the key things is we’re going to greatly increase the required parking for this facility because right now by code, it’s in the low 40s required parking spaces,” DePalma said. “And we’re going to actually have slightly more than 150 dedicated parking spaces.”
The new amenities will include outdoor exercise equipment, a new playground, an improved disc golf course and expanded walking paths.
The city also plans to relocate the 9/11 memorial from the marina to the park.
“I’m especially excited about the garden that they’re going to do for Mr. West,” Panama City Garden Club President Jodi Moore said. “They’re going to recreate some of the plants that he had in his garden when he came, he moved here, he’s the founder of Panama City. So it’ll be so exciting to have something dedicated to him. So we’re going to bring a little bit of history and a little bit of the present, you know, to our back to the neighborhood.”
The park’s plans include water mitigation, a preserve, and a brand-new garden club facility.
As for what’s next the city has to rezone the park property.
City officials have scheduled a meeting at city hall Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. to talk about the rezoning.