Panama City Quality of Life partnering with youth to design city parks

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– Saturday, the Panama City Quality of Life Department partnered with the LEAD Coalition of Bay County and Arch For Kids to host a design workshop. The goal was to hear input from the youth in the Panama City community on how to develop community parks and recreation.

Waking up early on a Saturday morning is not something most kids and teens want to do, but Bill Van Tassel said he had a mission.

“The parks we have now, they’re kind of small they don’t have really good appliances, and they’re not being kept up very well,” Van Tassel said.

Van Tassel’s goal is to improve his city parks, and other teens and kids in the community have similar ideas.

“We’re looking at dog parks, a rec center for sports, ponds, walkways, bike tracks,” Anna-Katherine Risalvato said.

The city has already been asking adults what they think, but now they want to hear from the kids.

“Let’s engage the youth of the community to get their input because they’re going to be the longest user of all the amenities that are going to be added,” Panama City Quality of Life Director, Sean De Palma said.

Sonya Caldwell, a board member for LEAD Coalition, said she hopes the project will help kids become more involved.

“The kids, they’re our future, one of our main goals is to help the kids extend the limits of their imagination,” Caldwell said.

The goal of the workshop was to put their ideas on paper for what would be their perfect park design, Van Tassel has some pretty big ones.

“We don’t know what we’re gonna put in their yet, but maybe like an indoor pool,” Van Tassel said.

The group will meet for a final time next Saturday and then present their finished designs to the city commission next month.

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