Panama City moving forward with purchasing Glenwood property

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City is preparing to close a deal on a piece of property that displaced several families in one Glenwood neighborhood.

After months of facing eviction, former tenants of one Glenwood community have been relocated. The city is planning to buy the property from the landlord.

"Eventually what will happen is the property will be cleared of the existing structures and some new housing will be built on those sites," Jeff Brown, Panama City Manager said.

Brown said the city is planning to construct single-family, detached, affordable housing. Brown also says there will be some time before the homes are torn down.

"So, between now and the time that we get to the demolition work if those homes can be moved we'll allow those homes to be moved to other private properties," Brown said.

William Swift is chairman of the Glenwood Working Partnership. He says the situation is unfair to the tenants who have limited resources.

"They say they have low-income housing, but it's confined to public housing and some other low-income housing that are choked with waiting lists of up to two years in some instances," Swift said.

Swift says the only affordable housing in the area for low-income residents is now scheduled for demolition, leaving tenants to move into places that may be out of their means.

Former tenants told us their rent was about $250 per month.

"I have a person who has under $700 a month fixed income who has been moved into an apartment that costs $500 a month," Swift said.

"This is all concentrated in one area, but it is part of the CRA plan and it is part of the Community Development Department's mission to revitalize neighborhoods in the city that are in need of having affordable and revitalized housing," Brown said.

The city is planning on purchasing the land for more than $400,000.

Tenants were notified they had to move out back in April. More than 30 families were affected by this change.