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More parking in the works for St. Andrews

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Busy streets, crowded parking lots, can lead to a lack of parking spots.

“As the community develops and we have developers and businesses expand, then you’re going to need those parking,” Panama City Commissioner Mike Nichols said.

Officials held a presentation Thursday talking about the St. Andrews Parking Study, which tallied 268 responses. Nichols said they hope to find a solution to what some believe is a parking problem here. Taproom owner Matthew Cole said there’s plenty of parking in St. Andrews compared to other popular places.

“If you look at Pier Park, anywhere you park at Pier Park is a longer walk than anywhere you park here and walk,” said Cole.

Nichols said four years ago the city bought the empty lot on the corner of Beck Avenue and 13th Street hoping to add more parking.

“So this is just talking. This is just a draft for us,” said Nichols.

Nichols said the lot could generate about 167 parking spaces, whether that be free or paid.

“But can we do something better? Can we do some commercial upfront and then put parking in the back?” said Nichols.

Cole said people will willingly walk to local businesses if more parking is added.

“It’s not a long walk. You get to walk by the water, through a fishing community, through a marina. People travel for that,” said Cole.

Nichols said the first step: develop the 13th Street parking lot. Step two: add meters to pay for a possible parking garage.

“So by the parking meters identifying who’s coming, how long they’re staying for, then you’ll have more statistics and information to say ‘hey, when does that parking garage need to be here,’” said Nichols.

Nichols said the final draft will be based on community input, but he’s happy with how the presentation went and what the future for St. Andrews holds. He adds the city hopes to make a decision on how to move forward with parking within the next 30 days.

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