Local officials look back on progress six months after Hurricane Michael

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Wednesday marked 182 days since Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and while significant progress has been made Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen says, "If we want to be the premier city of the Panhandle of Florida, to be bigger, better, and stronger, we have a lot more work to do."

The primary concern for officials six months down the road is finishing up the final stages of debris removal and working to fix the housing shortages across Panama City and the county.

"For housing, we're looking at trying to figure out how to partner with investors to do more housing opportunities for our citizens," said McQueen.

Bay County officials say they're working closely with FEMA as well as state and national representatives to try and better the housing situations for those across the county.

They're also taking the lessons they've learned and applying them to the future.

Bay County Commissioner, Bill Dozier said, "One of the first lessons that we learned was, when it comes to communication, not to have all of our eggs in one basket. We're looking at how we diversify when it comes to being able to communicate with each other after a storm."

McQueen added, "We've learned a lot about ourselves. I think one of the things we've seen and proven is that we're a very resilient community."

A community that's still healing but has rallied together to repair and rebuild as they look toward October 10, 2019.

"One year after the storm I believe we're going to be in a much better position than we are now, certainly the housing market will be coming back. The situation with our housing, the situation with our rental property will be in a much better position," said Dozier, "The worst is behind us and I believe the best is certainly yet to come."

"It's going to be a significant day, it's going to be a day of celebration and the city of Panama City will be celebrating the fact that we have moved forward," McQueen added