Residents share their vision for future of Panama City's housing

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City residents shared their vision for the housing community Wednesday as it prepares to rebuild.

Panama City residents share their vision at a long term planning meeting Wednesday. (WJHG/WECP)

Amy Groves, Project Director at Dover-Kohl & Partners, said, "So we need to hear from the local voices--what the priorities are and, you know, what this community needs to have."

The housing workshop is part of a two-week Long Term Recovery Planning project in the city.

April Geruso, Director of Resilience at Hagerty Consulting, said, "Some of the priorities that were established are talking about things like workforce housing as well as mixed-use housing in the Downtown [area] and a lot of that is being worked through here."

"We talked about Downtown living, you know, needing to bring more people down here to have more activity Downtown and making it walkable and bikeable," said Groves.

But the road to rebuilding faces some bumps.

Michael Johnson, Director of the Community Redevelopment Agency in Panama City, said, "Pricing is artificial--it's inflated. We've seen rents gone up double, triple, almost quadruple. Sales prices have gone up quite a bit so it makes it unaffordable for individuals."

Despite the challenges ahead, the workshop shed light on the city's new future still to be built.

"I really think there's gonna be a resurgence. I think there's gonna be a lot of opportunities here for Panama City that weren't here before," said Johnson.

The city will continue to hold public planning events throughout the rest of the week.

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