A New Library Is Coming, But Not Where You Thought

No sooner than the county commissioners agreed to buy the 11th Street Shopping Center as the home for their new county office complex, they decided to make the land home to another major facility.

The commission voted to move the Bay County Library out of its current home at the downtown Panama City Marina, and build a new library facility at 11th Street.

The move by commissioners to build a new library on the land came as a surprise to most. No one was more surprised than Panama City Mayor Lauren DeGeorge.

For weeks Bay County and Panama City commissioners have been haggling over a new lease and other details involved in building a new county library on the City Marina.

The county is facing a deadline to get the project off the ground. If a contract for construction hasn't been awarded by the end of the year, the county will lose a two and a half million dollar state grant.

Commissioner Jerry Girvin shocked most everyone by proposing the county end negotiations with Panama City and build the new library at the newly acquired 11th Street Shopping Center.

The only commissioner with reservations was George Gainer. But despite Gainer's objections, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to build the new library on West 11th Street.

The development is disappointing for Panama City officials. The city owns the current library building. The county was hoping to extend its lease with the city until the year 2038 so a new library could be built on the marina, but apparently that won't be necessary anymore.