Panama City commissioners adopt redevelopment and recovery action plans, Downtown business owners respond

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Panama City commissioners took a step forward towards the future of the area on Tuesday, passing the redevelopment and recovery action plans.

Ahead of Small Business Saturday, local shops in Downtown Panama City are reacting to the adoptions, such as Main Street Antiques, which celebrated its fourth anniversary on Wednesday. 

“We’ve seen a lot of changes in Downtown in that four year period,” said Liane Harding, the owner of the store. She said she’s excited to see what’s next for the city and downtown. 

“A couple of years from now, even though going through the storm was excruciating, it’s going to end up being the best thing that could have happened in Downtown,” she said. “It’s going to really be a destination.”

She’s not the only small business owner on Harrison Avenue looking forward to the revitalization plans the city has in store, but with excitement also comes skepticism.

“Everyone’s a little bit skeptical,” said Greg Snow, owner of The Little Mustard Seed. “it seems like we’ve heard this story a time or two.”

Snow said attracting business and residents to the area is much-needed.

“We’re really optimistic that this time the plan will take action,” said Snow.

Other downtown business and restaurant owners agreed. 

“We’re really looking forward to it and hoping it’ll just continue to grow downtown as we open more and more doors,” said Kim Steigler, owner of The Place Downtown.

One of the biggest concerns residents and business owners alike have had has been the status of the marina.

“To see it just sitting the way it is right now, it’s sad,” said Dave Parmer, who owns Millies.

He worked at the marina as a kid and says rebuilding it is a must.

“That’s a great marina, always has been,” said Parmer. “The quicker they can get it done, I think, the better for Downtown.”

According to city officials, 2050 is the goal to make Panama City better, stronger and safer, so businesses like these can flourish.

“There’s a lot to be done besides downtown, there’s all of Panama City,” said Harding. “So yes, I would like it to go faster, but I’m okay with the progress so far.”

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