Is Bay County Ready for its Ninth City?

If a growing number of Southport residents have their way, there will be a ninth local municipality.

Supporters are collecting signatures on a petition that would start the process of incorporating Southport into its own city.

Organizers held an informational meeting Monday at the Southport Community Center and the response was huge. More than 150 people showed up, the majority interested in forming their own city.

Most are worried about a neighboring city like Lynn Haven annexing sections of the Southport community. Lynn Haven already took in one condo development north of the Bailey Bridge, and just two weeks ago lost a legal battle to annex another condo project planned for an area north of North Bay.

Incorporation supporters like Doc Ferland say they just want to control their own destiny.

"I don't hear any who's anti-development, as such. I think they want to have control over it, which as a city they will have better control, but I haven't heard anyone say they don't want development. What they do say is they don't want someone else calling the shots."

Organizers went into Monday night’s meeting with about 1,000 signatures on their petition. They picked up at least another 100 at the meeting. From here they'll hold town meetings once a month to update everyone on their progress.