Panama City Downtown Gets a Proposed Make-Over

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Actually, two projects are in the works one for the Panama City downtown area, the other for the St. Andrews Marina.

Both projects call for improvements to the current areas--and making some family-friendly additions.

The Panama City downtown area is rich with history from the structures that stand tall, to the commemorative statues that honor our military. One local architect has a vision that will add to the beauty and create new history.

John Bozarth of Bozarth & Assoc. Architecture says, "There's a lot of pressure right now on waterfront access for the public. We're seeing a lot of new development and we're especially seeing marina's boat ramps disappear. The public has a very strong need for these public marinas. Part of our plan is to protect that access for the public and to improve it."

Part of that plans include relocating all of the statues, monuments and other displays.

The two current pedestrian islands will become 3 islands. Interactive water fountains will become part of this new redistribution, fountains that children can run through and play in. There will be message boards listing downtown activities and the centerpiece will be a new, small amphitheater.

City commissioners are excited, but want to make sure the changes are for the better.

"You're changing 50 years of existing construction...or 50 years of use, and changing it around so it is more user friendly, and new and exciting, and compliments the changes we made in the City Hall appearance, Civic Center appearence, and the overall downtown," says Ken Hammons, City Manager

The second project, for the St. Andrews Marina, include re-directing traffic, adding more boating space, and creating new greenery for walk and bike paths.

The next step from here is to start the process of getting the land ready for these upcoming projects.