An unidentified worker totes cinder blocks from the rubble of a demolished home on the 400 block of Hickory Avenue in this 2009 file photo. City and county officials are in talks to possibly create a land bank authority which they say would make getting property cleared through demolition back on the tax rolls.
Rita and Sammy Patel bought the Scottish Inn when they first moved to Panama City 11 years ago.
"This is my home, and my kids grew up here,” said Rita Patel. “They love Panama City."
But, it may not be home much longer, not only for the Patel’s, but a number of other nearby businesses.
"We will be in discussion with different property owners about requiring right of way," said Ian Satter, with the Florida Department of Transportation.
In fact, crews are already demolishing the Classic Inn.
“We're going to demo the building, parking lot and pool," said Sammy Davis, the operations supervisor.
The demolition is the first sign of progress toward the Highway 98 flyover.
"With putting together a flyover on 23rd street right near the Hathaway Bridge,” said Satter. “That would create a seamless transition from 23rd to 98 and vise versa for traffic headed to 98."
Right now the intersection at Highway 98 and 23rd street is one of the busiest in Bay County and the flyover would alleviate a lot of that traffic.
"We want to make sure we have people moving as quickly as they can, and as safely as they can," Satter said.
While transportation officials have set aside some money to buy the right of way, it is not on the short list of projects receiving construction funding.
But Satter said they will continue to evaluate their funding and needs.
And, as for business owners like the Patels,
"We'll see what we can do next,” said Patel. “I have to think about it and move forward."