Open for Business

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Hurricane Ivan may have hit Panama City Beach a couple months ago, but its effects are long lasting when it comes to tourists.

Cody Kahn, the chairman of the board, said the effort started immediately after the storm and will now include television ads.

"People think all the beaches of northwest Florida have been wiped out and there's no businesses open, and there was major damages after the hurricane and it will be a year or so before we put it back together and open for business."

Bob Warren, the executive director of the TDC, says after two surveys with frequent visitors, the results are concerning.

"The people north of us who are our traditional customers still believe we have suffered extreme damage from Hurricane Ivan, when in fact we are fully up and operational."

Even though the beach is open, it did take a beating. Now, the TDC is looking at options to bring sand back to the beach and help renourish what's left.

Warren spoke about a nourishment project completed in 1999 and what is now left of that area.

"Our initial loss on that beach are about 1.5 cubic yards just through normal erosion. Hurricane Ivan added another 1.7 million cubic yards to that."

Lisa Heckman, the Beach Management Coordinator for the TDC, says she has been looking at their options for quite a while.

"Whether or not Hurricane Ivan had come or not, we would need to be looking for this sand."

The board approved an initial $11,000 for continued research about offshore quality sand sources and will consider an estimated $400,000 for the total project in finding new sand.