Proposed Community Center Taking Off

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It didn't seem like much controversy. Most people there were in favor of the road closure, but it has been an ongoing issue for months, a safety issue and a "precedent" issue.

Many people in a standing-room-only crowd took advantage of their time to speak at the podium. Most were First United Methodist Church members who are in favor of closing Palo Alto.

They say the move will provide a safe and secure passage between the church and the new family life center.

While most people at the meeting were in favor of the road closure, there were some residents who were adamantly against it.

"And just because you own both sides of a street, does not give you the right to take it. That street belongs to every tax payer in Panama City. Every tax payer including me and I don't want to see my street closed,” said resident Bobbie Davis. "Closure of this section would be in the best interest of all concerned. Even though this section may not be the busiest section in the cove, the fact that cars would be allowed to pass through with small children and family trying to pass through is a great concern to me and the family we now serve."

City commissioners voted 4 to 1 to close Palo Alto, with Commissioner Kathryn Hanline objecting.

Members say they will name it the "Si Mathison Center" in memory of brother Si, who preached in the community for 40 years, prior to his death.

This community center will serve everyone in the area from pre-school children to the elderly.