Panama City residents voice opinions on McKenzie Park renovations

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Wednesday, the City of Panama City hosted a community walkthrough of McKenzie Park to discuss improvements coming this summer.

The goal of the walk-through was to discuss the trees in the park, but residents showed up to talk about that and more – and make sure the city is listening. 

Fred Scott has lived in Downtown Panama City for almost 50 years. He said he has lived through several downtown improvements and hopes this time they get right. 

“I would like to see the park put to use as we had it once before,” Scott said. “Whereas we had concerts out here and people bring their lunches and stay in the evenings and bring their children and I would like to see that thing happen again.”

Residents concerned for homeless population with talk of McKenzie Park renovations

Scott and other residents walked with the Quality of Life Director, Sean DePalma, through the park to see the plans they have for the trees. DePalma said arborists found six trees that need to be removed but they will be replaced with 18 native panhandle trees. 

“They are going to be a decent caliber anywhere from eight to twelve inches or larger and some of them will be a tree for trees meaning if they are a live oak we will replace them as an oak tree,” DePalma said. 

The hot topic at the walk-through was not the trees. It was what the city plans to do about the homeless population.

When the renovations to the park are being finished it will be closed down for everyone. Leaving the homeless that hang around there with nowhere to go. 

City officials answered residents’ concerns by saying there is no official plan for the issue at this time.

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