Flexible Streets Program Given the Green Light

Commissioners gave the green light for a 1 year trial program, dubbed Flexible Streets, allowing downtown restaurants to add extra outdoor dining.

The concept allows restaurants to expand their dining area onto a removable platform that would be placed in two to three parking spaces in front of their business.

Commissioners say they're confident the program will be a game changer for the downtown area and are anxious to see how restaurants will respond.

"In all the communities throughout Florida that had a vibrant downtown, this is one common thing that we've seen," said Panama City Commissioner John Kady. “People like to gather outside, you know we have the weather for it, it's just a perfect walking environment, and it encourages people to do that."

Restaurants will build the decks to the city's specifications then can apply for the city to reimburse them up to 50% of the cost, paid through grants. The restaurant owners will also have to apply for a $20 annual permit.

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