Train Depot Suit Under Advisement

A Bay County Circuit Judge presided over a hearing Monday on the sale of the land on which the old Bay Line train depot sits.

Late last year a citizens group filed a lawsuit seeking to block the sale of the depot. Citizens for Better Government, along with Warren and Elsie Ray Clary, filed the suit.

The city of Panama City, north Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency, and the developer, the Kingston Group, were named as defendants.

The plaintiffs claim there was a number of violations by the city and the DIB in the sale of the property to Kingston Group. They say the highest bid wasn't accepted, and the DIB took a bid that did not include the requirement that the old train depot be restored, which was arguably one of the main objectives.

Kingston has offered to sell the depot building to the city for $10 so the city can preserve it. The city declined that option, so it appears the depot will be destroyed.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Doug Wyckoff, says the suit asks for the sale to be reversed and have the city re-address the preservation of the Bay Line building.

“Irregularities and Inequalities with the awarding of contract selection of proposal, failure to provide notice failure to have opportunity to have public participation in this very important decision."

Judge Glen Hess spent an hour hearing arguments from both sides Monday afternoon. He said he hopes to have a decision made by Friday.