New Federal Courthouse

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The city of Marianna and Jackson County are not giving up in their efforts for a new federal courthouse, even though a group of judges has already awarded the project to Panama City.

"We're not going to give up until possibly they start laying the bricks in Panama City," says Jackson County administrator, Ted Lakey.

"Just because they made an initial preference doesn't mean we've forgotten about them. Should things not work out there, come on down!" says Chamber of Commerce President, Art Kimbrough.

In a letter sent just a few weeks ago, the city and the county along with the county's Chamber of Commerce reiterate their interest in the federal courthouse and emphasize Panama City's trouble in securing a location. The signatures at the end of the letter also highlight a united front: none of the city or county commissioners oppose the project.

"I'm impressed that they've done such a good job on getting a unanimous effort on part of both the city commission and the county commission."

Panama City Mayor Gerry Clemmons doesn't dispute the problem of getting property owners to sell their piece of the chosen commissioners disagreement about what to do about it.

"They're referring to the reluctance on the part of the city commission to go into condemnation to acquire some property that won't be available any other way." Says Mayor Clemmons.

But he says the federal courthouse is still Panama City's project, at least for now.

"I hope things stay that way, but there's no guarantee," says Mayor Clemmons.

"It ain't over until somebody's digging dirt and we're a long way from digging dirt." says Kimbrough.

Mayor Clemmons says Jackson County's letter has prompted Bay County to offer its help in this matter.