PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Commissioners ceremoniously laid cobblestones on Harrison Avenue in Panama City continuing their Streetscape Project on Wednesday.
In the next 12 months, the cobblestone roads will be constructed from Harrison Avenue to Fourth Street.
“I think what people are going to enjoy is that they don’t have to get in a car and drive far,” Panama City Commissioner Jenna Haligas said. “They can just come downtown. They can enjoy fishing, they can enjoy boating, they can enjoy waterfront restaurants, maybe a stay-cation for a weekend at the hotel.”
Panama City officials believe the revitalization will lead to more people shopping downtown. Once Phase 1 is finished in around a year, sidewalks will be widened to 15 feet on each side.
“Talk about inviting, you know it’s just like handing somebody an invitation and say look what we’ve done,” Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki said. “Look how we’ve progressed, look what has evolved out of the hurricane.”
The project will also feature new sewer and water drainage. The city has implemented new filters to filter out waste before water is dumped into St. Andrew’s Bay.
Along the sidewalks will be oak trees, which are expected to soak up 150-200 gallons of water each day.
“It ended up this huge, huge incredible project because we had time to stop and breathe and say you know what let’s not just create something we think people need,” Haligas said. “Let’s bring in world-renowned experts that tell us what we need to do for urban planning to revitalize our downtown.”