Old Motel to Reopen for Katrina Evacuees

While some areas are filling up with hurricane evacuees, others are being restored to help shelter those from Mississippi and Louisiana that fled Katrina.

The Islander Motel on Front Beach Road at Panama City Beach was sold just over a year ago to a developer who wants to demolish it and build a high rise condominium in its place.

But in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina there are many evacuees finding themselves stranded in Bay County, and with a little work, the old Islander could be used to house them.

The motel is starting to show signs of life as many volunteers have been out for the past two days working on the Islander to get it in shape to open for the refugees.

NewsChannel Seven first reported on Thursday night that the owner was looking at letting the evacuees stay there, but first it had to be spruced up. Lots of locals and evacuees themselves were at the site all day Friday and Saturday cleaning rooms, furnishing them and hooking up working air conditioning units.

The Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center offered the services of its men and women to restore electricity and running water.

The facility is expected to open in the next day or two to those who evacuated and have nothing to their name right now and no place to stay.