Community Redevelopment Area Board Supports Creation of Cultural Heritage Tourism District

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PANAMA CITY-- The Panama City Community Redevelopment Area Board has approved a proposal that will be a huge boost to the Glenwood community.

The board has agreed to create a Cultural Heritage Tourism District in that section of Panama City.

"We can now begin the creation, we can begin the planning of infrastructure, we can begin to anticipate property purchase, we can begin to do more education in the community about the plan," said Toni Shamplain, Downtown North CRA Manager.

Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard will be the heart of the district.

It will run from 7th Street at Bay Medical Sacred Heart, 10 blocks north to 17th Street.

And from McKenzie Avenue and Highway 231 on the west side, to Mercedes Avenue and Watson Bayou on the east side.

The hope is to provide an area that will attract ethnic cultural events and even develop it's own local music, art and literature.

Some officials say it's a great move.

"Today's confirmation that we're on the right track, we're moving forward," said Shamplain.

"Well I think it's a great thing. We have so many distinct areas, historical areas, St. Andrews, Millville, and Glenwood, an African American community has been one that over the past decade has somewhat been ignored," said John Kady, Panama City Commissioner.

"We get a lot of visitors that come here from other places and if we can create something over there that would be good for the citizens and good for the people that are visiting, that's what it's all about," said Greg Brudnicki, Panama City Mayor.

Shamplain says Tuesday's decision will immediately allow the CRA to begin using its funds to buy property identified in the development plan.

Then they'll apply for grants to do the majority of the construction and building projects.

The downtown north CRA district hired a professional consulting team, that has already come up with the development plan and conceptional drawings.