After more than a year of talks and workshops, the amphitheater expansion project for Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach is finally underway.
Thursday's ground breaking ceremony held a special meaning for those who've wanted to see this happen for over a decade. Officials say this is a long time coming.
People like Panama City Beach Assistant City Manager, Mario Gisbert, Panama City Beach Mayor, Gayle Oberst, and Bay County Commissioner, Mike Thomas praised this project, saying the amphitheater will bring a new wave of people to our beaches for special events.
For Gisbert, seeing dirt move is step one in making dreams a reality.
"The biggest benefits to being an architect, to being a developer, and an owner are to see the thoughts, the dreams that you come up with and then seeing them come up out of the ground. So, this is a dream come true when 2d becomes 3d," said Gisbert.
There was nothing two dimensional as dirt was tossed aside Thursday evening, signifying a move towards the future.
Officials from Panama City Beach and Bay County joined together for the public ceremony. Excitement seemed to radiate from the large audience over the 2.6 million dollar project, which is made possible through BP funding from the tourist development council.
Panama City Beach Mayor, Gayle Oberst, has championed this project through a years worth of controversy. She was happy to discuss the perks of the expansion.
"We'll have enough restrooms, the stage will have enough room for us to do plays and large concerts, and then we'll have additional parking which we desperately need," said Oberst.
Meanwhile, Bay County Commissioner, Mike Thomas, was excited to draw in more people for larger events, including plays and big name musical artists.
"People are draw to special events. They love them. They travel far for them and when we put on quality events out here now, we'll get quality people and it'll be a mighty good thing for Bay County," said Thomas
They also addressed the issues of noise and traffic that have plagued this expansion, adding that they have developed ordinances to decrease noise and how long an act can perform. They said they are always open to hear the concerns of the public.