Opposition to Homeless Resource Center Gaining Momentum

By: Betsy Goldin Email
By: Betsy Goldin Email

Tuesday, Panama City commissioner's voted to buy some land near Star Ave. and Highway 231 for the project, and residents said they were caught off guard.
Since Tuesday's vote, some residents have been exploring any option available to them to protest the resource center going into their neighborhoods, others do not seem to mind.
"My primary concern is really for the homeless, and they need a home,” said Fred Nehrings, a nearby resident. “If that's the best place for them, down there, then I think that's where they should be."
Panama City plans to use a 70 acres site for the new center that will provide a number of services to help homeless people get back on their feet, but it would not include shelter space to house the homeless.
Nehrings said he was curious how homeless people will take advantage of the center's services.
"It would be perfect for the center but it is so far out of town, I don't know about transportation," he said.
Bay County Commissioner Guy Tunnell, agreed with Nehrings, but he is also concerned the county is inheriting the city's homeless issues.
"I don't think we need to pick up the problem, and as I see it, move it to another location,” said Tunnell. “Where we have less public safety because of geographic domain. Less infrastructure because they're now out in the county."
The county can use utilities as a negotiating point with the city.
"From what I understand, because the lines have not been in use for so long, there ability to service would be greatly questioned," he said.
The city’s over-riding goal is to get the Panama City Rescue Mission to move out of the downtown area and relocate near the new service center.
Mission director, Rev. Billy Fox said he and the mission's board will discuss the issue at a board meeting next Tuesday.


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