SOUL movement looking to change Envision Project plans

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:29 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - Community members gathered Thursday for what they’re calling a “SOUL movement to Save Our Urban Land.”

“The SOUL movement is growing out of the I guess what they call the city of Panama City’s Envision Plan,” said Director of the Student Advocacy Center Gregory Dossie.

The Envision Plan is a citizen-driven effort to improve communities in the Panama City area following Hurricane Michael.

Getting residents involved was a way for urban communities to not lose their character or historical appeal.

“We employed a citizen-driven process of having town hall meetings and charrettes to solicit and gain the input of citizens across Panama City, particularly in Millvile, Glenwood, and St. Andrews,” said City Manager of Panama City Mark McQueen.

Those attending Thursday believe their voices aren’t being heard and that history is being forgotten.

“We don’t need to forget our history,” said President of the Bay County NAACP Dr. Rufus Wood. “African Americans have made great sacrifices.”

City leaders say the plans show exactly what the community survey results say they wanted.

“For the Glenwood community, we heard loud and clear was they wanted an enhancement in economic opportunities, they wanted an enhancement in infrastructure, and also an enhancement in affordable housing,” said McQueen.

The SOUL movement says bringing in different developers would bring more inclusivity to the community.

“We need the black urban planners, the architects, the designers to come here and design a community which encompasses our rich history and our culture,” said Dossie.

Glenwood community leaders are asking city officials to not only listen to the community, but to also respond.

McQueen says the city is still accepting comments and ideas from citizens and they’ll continue to do so until January.

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