More than $20 million in Hurricane Michael recovery funds going to Panama City Beach

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis was in Panama City Beach with a big announcement for folks in the panhandle.

“I don’t come to Bay County empty-handed very often,” Governor DeSantis said.

More than $111 million in long-term disaster recovery awards is going to 22 Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. The money is part of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure Repair Program.

The biggest chunk was awarded to Panama City Beach, to help fund the Front Beach Road Stormwater Offshore Outfall Project.

“$21 million right here today to make sure the erosion and flooding is a thing of the past,” Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle said.

The two outfall pipes near Lullwater Condominiums and Calypso Resort and Towers will be combined into one extra-long outfall. Stormwater will be transported underneath Front Beach Road, through the pipe stretching a whopping 1,500 feet out into the Gulf of Mexico.

“During a major storm, when that outfall backs up the way it used to with the dirt getting inside it, it definitely had some issues in the past. This will alleviate all of that,” Panama City Beach Mayor Sheldon said.

It’s a big project Panama City Beach has been trying to get money for since last November. One Mayor Mark Sheldon said is worth the extra preparation.

“The council as a whole stepped up and spent $1.2 million on an engineering firm a few months ago to make sure we were shovel ready,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said he’s ready to break ground, shovel in hand, in as soon as 90 days. He said the outfall project is expected to take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete.

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