Governor DeSantis awards $21 million to Panama City Beach for the outfall project

Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — More Hurricane Michael recovery money for the panhandle coming in from the state.

Thursday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis came to Panama City Beach to announce millions of dollars will be awarded for infrastructure repair to communities impacted by the cat five storm.

A big chunk of that will go to the beach.

$21 million will be going to Panama City Beach to help fund their offshore outfall project. 

The project will combine the city’s two existing outfalls into one to help reduce beach erosion and flooding in problematic neighborhoods. 

“Today we are here to announce more than $111 million in long term disaster recovery awards to 22 Florida communities,” DeSantis said. 

The funding is from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure Repair Program.

Almost 19 million will go to the City of Panama City for infrastructure in Millville, and another three million to Callaway to replace a lift station. But the bulk is for the beach’s outfall project which DeSantis said will better prepare the area for future storms. 

“Look we are going to have more storms in Florida that’s just the reality and we all know that and we all prepare for it and when you go through something like a Michael and you see a really catastrophic situation you see kind of what can we do to fortify and I think it will be good,” DeSantis said.

Mayor Mark Sheldon said the new outfall will travel beneath the gulf floor around 1500 feet to transport stormwater from Lullwater Lake into the gulf. 

“$21 million for the outfall project and for our community is an amazing thing for the environment and for our beaches,” Sheldon said.

Areas like the Lullwater community continuously flood in major rain events. City leaders say the outfall will help transport stormwater from the lake into the gulf, and Mayor Sheldon said this is just the beginning. 

“The best part is this is the first step there is more funding potential in the future,” Sheldon said.

Mayor Sheldon said they are shovel ready and they hope to start as soon as possible.

He said they expect the engineering process to take about 90 days and then construction can begin.

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