The search for property to house a new federal courthouse could be over. Panama City Mayor Gerry Clemons says both the chief federal judge and the new chief federal judge taking over in July say the selection is appropriate.
The site is located at the headwaters of Massalina Bayou and Sixth Street downtown Panama City.
Mayor Clemons hopes the council will agree at next week’s meeting. "If you put a 95-thousand square foot building in an area, you will see other things attracted to it, and a courthouse will attract probably law offices and possibly restaurants."
Several local business owners agree with the mayor saying this is just the opportunity they need to invest in the community.
Jimmy Branch and his wife own the Speedy Carwash on sixth and have been waiting a long time for this. "My family and I have owned this property in downtown Panama City for fifty years, and there's been no motivation for us to invest and to really make it something special. This has given us some hope."
Waylon Graham, a local attorney, just bought property in the area and expects positive results from the courthouse. "I think you'll see, it's going to revitalize this whole area. It'll make a big, big difference."
Graham says the courthouse will bring people to an area that needs attention and development. He says he brought property hoping others would follow. "This whole area was a depressed area, and when I came in here a year and a half ago and bought up all the property in this area, it was horrible."
Branch says the courthouse will bring the stability needed in the community. "We need more anchors, some large significant investment in downtown Panama City to anchor the area and this may be the anchor for us."
It's an anchor that many business owners say will also bring an added sense of security to a neglected neighborhood.