Panama City commissioners promised to do a better job of informing Bayou George residents about plans for a proposed homeless community resource center, but some of those residents showed up at Tuesday night's commission meeting armed with new ammunition against the plan.
Members of the community resource center task force told the Panama City commission meeting audience, it's tough to communicate on an issue when you don't have all the necessary information.
"We realize that our efforts really can't begin until we establish an effective date and get this thing going. Once we do that there will be...communication will take place with homeowners in the area."
But Bayou George residents say no one's making an effort to keep them in the loop.
"I've sent emails to the city and to the task force requesting a list of other sites that were considered before choosing the Star Avenue location," said Wendi Ringenberg, a Cherokee Heights resident. Her emails also requested information on any land use or density studies conducted as well as concerns about crime associated with facilities similar to the proposed center.
"I have not received a response or even an acknowledgment of receipt of my emails from either the task force, the mayor, or the city commission, with the exception of commissioner Kady," said Ringenberg.
"You never go into a venture like this without first speaking to the stakeholders," said Charlotte Brown, principal at Merritt Brown Middle School. "At least make Cherokee Heights feel as though they have a say so. At this point it's almost too little, too late."
City officials say the contract is undergoing revisions, but they say they do not plan to change locations.
Task force members plan to meet with Cherokee Heights residents within the next few weeks to address these and other concerns.