Panama City commissioners want to make the city marina the centerpiece of the downtown revitalization effort. Tuesday night, they approved the means to realize the vision, voting to apply for a multimillion dollar loan to finance the project.
"This is a dream for us we've been working on this for years and the previous commission and even goes back to Mayor Gerry Clemons" said commissioner Billy Rader. "This is a beautiful day a great day to see this finally come to be."
The commission voted unanimously to borrow a little more than $13 million for the 15 years. The majority of the money will go to the repair of the seawall and bulkheads, the rest will go to a major facelift that will transform the marina into a destination with a number of amenities and attractions.
City officials say they got great terms on the loan and are getting more than enough money to finish the job.
"With any project you can't be right on the number as far as what it costs to do the project so we've made estimates and we've built a contingency in there, I believe a 5% so if there's an overage we don't have to go back to the well if you will to borrow more money to complete the project," said commissioner John Kady.
Once it is completed, city officials hope the all new marina will become a gateway for rebirth throughout the downtown area.
Phase 1 of the work will be completed by the end of the summer, the entire renovation should be finished by April 2016.