Residents Show Mixed Opinions After City Announces New Sidewalk Project

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PANAMA CITY -- Panama City officials are planning to spend about half a million to build new sidewalks in the Panama City North Community redevelopment area.

Some of the residents are excited about the project, but others aren't; they're reportedly worried about some of the neighbors.

There have never been any sidewalks on Louisiana Avenue. That will soon change. Panama City commissioners recently approved a sidewalk budget which includes Louisiana Avenue.

"I can't wait. When Mr. Ed (neighbor) told me about it the first time and we looked at the paper in the flyer we were excited, so yeah I’m excited,” said resident Doris Davis.

But there are a few obstacles delaying the work.

CRA Program Manager Toni Shamplain said, "The major deterrent to installing the sidewalks on Louisiana was really drainage issues."

Heavy rains have created unleveled areas that now tend to flood.

Resident Kevin Davis said, "We do have a long part over here where the ditch is. And I would like that done so I can drive across and I can go into my backyard."

The city plans to repair the drainage problems first.

"Usually when you do sidewalks you do curbs and gutters. So curbs and gutters allows for the water to drain,” Shamplain said.

One of the other obstacles has to do with people. Some residents have mixed feelings. They're worry the sidewalks will provide a path for more criminals to come into their neighborhood and particularly concerned about the nearby Foxwood low income housing development.

"Residents are saying sidewalks will make it easier for those that are not good neighbors to trash our yards,” said Shamplain.

The city plans to start drainage work this year and begin installing sidewalks by 2015. City officials have not said how long it will take to complete the project.