PANAMA CITY, Fla. — The future of Panama City has been a topic of discussion long before the storm, but since the hurricane devastated the area, now is a better time than ever to start from square one.
City officials are working around the clock to make the vision of revitalization a reality, and they’re making sure residents are active players in the process.
For weeks, residents have been able to give their input on what they want to see in Panama City by meeting in small groups, and submitting sketches and maps. Now, all the submitted work and ideas are being considered in the bigger picture by the town planner, Victor Dover.
“It’s their plan, not just the consultant’s or the city staffs,” said Town Planner with Dover, Kohl, and partners, Victor Dover.
Dover has been in the business for over 30 years and said he thinks Panama City can become something amazing. “Yes, there is some tarnish… but it also has the makings of a dramatic before and after picture of the town everybody is talking about in the next few years in the Panhandle,” he said.
While the revitalization will happen all over the city, the focus currently is the downtown area and the waterfront.
By the end of this week, Dover hopes to have a general outline for the area with fine details in place by midsummer.
“A downtown, a main street, that’s where you go to see the heartbeat and the pulse of a community and what the community is really all about,” Dover said.
On Friday at the Bay County government building, residents are urged to come out and see the progress so far. “We’ll be doing that from 6 to 9 p.m. and we’re really encouraging our citizens to come and see what the collective has thought of in terms of the future of Panama City,” said City Manager of Panama City, Mark McQueen.
Participation is highly encouraged as they want everyone to play a role in the rebuilding process.
“We’re going to take all the stuff we’ve been doing and put it up on a big screen and ask that audience, is this what you meant? What do you think about what we have so far? Are we on the right track?” said Dover.
If you can’t make the meeting, it will be live streamed on www.PCGov.org.