Residents Speak Out On Community Resource Center

The proposed community resource center for the homeless was not on Tuesday afternoon's Panama City commission meeting, but commissioners still ended up spending a bit of time hearing about it.

Several dozen residents from the Cherokee Heights area showed up for today's meeting. The city wants to build the proposed resource center near them.

Several told commissioners they have concerns about the project. Others say it could be a waste of money if Panama City Rescue Mission officials refuse to relocate to that site. Still others said they support the project.

"If they don't choose to sell their currently owned property and build facilities on this campus, will we then have 2 facilities? One where you have this 70 acre campus providing all these grand services,” said Cherokee Heights resident Stephen Ringerberg, “and then you also still have a Rescue Mission downtown servicing homeless people?"

Cherokee Heights resident Jack Harvey commended commissioners on the plan saying it would be a move that could be a model for the rest of the United States. "We've gone from an issue of getting vagrants off the street,” said Harvey, “to addressing the human problem of helping people who are disenfranchised and getting them back their dignity through helping them."

Commissioners did not take any action on the resource center tonight. They're still considering the acquisition of the 70-acre proposed site in Bayou George. They did promise better communications with the residents, who say they were blind-sided by this plan.

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