After 2 years and 2 denials, Panama City Rescue Mission officials are faced with a third denial in their attempt to expand Bethel Village in Springfield after a unanimous vote by city commissioners turned it down.
Residents and officials from Springfield came to the public hearing with more than their opinions about why they felt the expansion for Bethel Village was a bad idea, and though Reverend Billy Fox said he felt the information was mostly speculation and misinformation, commissioners decided unanimously that the expansion was not in the city's best interest.
One of the issues that came up was the possibility of there being issues similar to the ones faced at the downtown Panama City location of Rescue Mission. "The activities and programs of the Panama City Rescue Mission have had a serious detrimental effect on the citizens and properties that surround that campus," said Springfield's Chief of Police, Phillip Thorne. "Standard crime analysis tells me as a police chief that if I take the same people, programs and activities and move them to a new location, in this instance Bethel Village, it's expected that all of those issues that began at the Panama City site while not in the same numbers will now occur at the Springfield site."