Snowbird Future

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Shirley Evans of Niagara Falls, Ontario has been coming to Panama City Beach for the past 17 years from Canada and she has seen a noticeable difference with new condos popping up along the beach.

"It's really difficult to see a wall of cement go along the beach you've known for so long as to be a nice white beach that you can walk down anywhere."

Mary-Lou Mahlmeister is from Frankenmuth, Michigan and was a snowbird until relocating to Bay County permanently this year.

"Well, I think a lot of snowbirds will be looking at things off the beach, which is sad. A lot will be going into houses off the beach."

Evan's and Mahlmeister both belong to the Noah's Arc Snowbird Club, which has 468 members currently, but they expect to reach 800 members by the end of the month.

Executive director of Noah’s Arc, Luke Pinegar, says membership was up 20-percent in December compared to the last four years.

"These people impact our economy for a 20-year period, these are people who are loyal to an area as long as they can afford to come. This is their second home."

Evans says she hopes to continue her snowbird stay in Panama City Beach, but if the price goes up, she won't be back.

"Hopefully, we'll keep coming down for a lot longer time. If not, so long Panama City Beach. There's nothing you can do about it."


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