PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– At the Panama City Beach City Council meeting on Thursday, the city council made the decision to do away with the blackout periods for Aaron Bessant Park. This means the park can be used to hold events year-round.
In 2012, the city initiated blackout dates for small and medium park events up to 7,500 people between March 1-April 15 and Memorial Day Weekend.
Larger events of over 4,500 were prohibited from June 10-Aug. 10, unless the council saw the event as an extraordinary opportunity and for July 4th.
In 2016, the council permitted small and medium events between March 1 and April 15 and Memorial Day, as long as they were city-sponsored.
City Manager Tony O’ Rourke proposed that the city allow for the blackout dates to be lifted and events to not be restricted by the government.
O’Rourke also suggested the council expand the capacity of the park from 7,500 people to 10,000 after seeing the park hold large events like the rally for President Trump back in May 2019.
Councilman Geoff McConnell said he hopes that by lifting the blackout dates, citizens will have more opportunity to use the park.
“We’re still going to have some restrictions in that area, but it’s important to have city events on that property, to give back to the community and have them be able to go and do different things in that area,” McConnell said.