Swap Stopped

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The Downtown Marina has become hot property that has divided a community. Developer Bob Blackerby owns the land near Johnson Bayou and would swap that property for the land where the library and City Hall now sit. He says he wants the support of the public before a city commission vote.

"We got to get back out to the people and talk to them and explain to them what the true project is about, what the good points are exactly, what we're doing, have the renderings, have the sight plan and have some public forums along with meetings with civic groups and organizations."

Panama City Mayor Gerry Clemons says it's probably a good decision to wait because he doesn't think the vote would go Blackerby's way at this point.

"It's an innovative idea that he has. He is a visionary, but it did not. Now, I don't think it's a bad idea, but the majority of the people I represent are very alarmed by it."

Blackerby says now is the opportunity for everyone to work together on the project.

"Things are changing in Panama City whether we like it or not. Whether you want to embrace it or not, they're changing; you might as well accept it and work with it and make it work for you."

Making it work is exactly what Blackerby will do for now. Blackerby says he will speak to local groups or organizations about his plans for the downtown area. If you have questions about the plan, you can e-mail him at R-Blackerby@magnum-capital.