On Tuesday, officials announced that Phase one of construction would begin on Oct. 4, and be finished by the beginning of 2023. The plan includes wider sidewalks for pedestrians. Businesses will be able to set out some outside dining as well.
The plan also includes new water and sewer lines, as well as cobblestone streets. Oak trees will also line the streets, replacing palm trees
“This is a major signature event for the downtown and certainly Panama City,” Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen said. “When you start looking at the ideas that are in the plan, they all came from the Charette’s and the citizen driven process that we had.”
For business owners like Nate Taylor, an operating partner at C&G Sporting Goods, the revitalization will bring a whole new atmosphere to downtown Panama City.
“The most exciting thing is going to be seeing all of the people just fellowshipping downtown,” Taylor said. “You know they were talking about how large, they’re not really sidewalks. They’re going to just be spaces where people get to fellowship, have a good time, sit outside underneath oak trees.”
Taylor also expects the revitalized downtown to be a hub of activity for the surrounding community.
“Community is what really drives people downtown,” Taylor said. “And feeling like you’re really a part of it, and you are invested in it, and this is your city. That is extremely powerful. And I think people really are longing for a connection to their city.”