Rescue Mission, Residents React To Resource Center - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Rescue Mission, Residents React To Resource Center

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Bay County, Fla. -

It's being seen as the answer to Downtown Panama City's vagrancy issues. City commissioners approved the purchase of land for a 70-acre Community Resource Center. While the city seems to be on aboard, some aren't fully convinced.

When the commission voted last night to purchase this property. There was one group that was missing - members of the Panama City rescue mission. They say they were caught a bit off guard by the decision.

"I assumed that it would not be in the public eye for a few weeks," said Pastor Henry Hazard, chairman of the board for the Panama City Rescue Mission.

Pastor Hazard says when approached about the plan by the city a few weeks ago, he thought there would be more time to figure out how the mission fit into those plans.

"We decided at that point we would investigate, we would pray about it, we would seek god's will because it is God's mission and we're trying to minister in his way," Pastor Hazard said.

At Tuesday night's commission meeting, city leaders made the move, one that got the attention of the rescue mission and the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center.

We went out to the nearby Cherokee heights neighborhood to see what residents think about their potential new neighbors.

"I just don't think the location is very good," said resident Justin Buschman. "It has nothing to do with them being close to the neighborhood, there has to be places more centrally located they can find."

"People don't have jobs, children don't have food, anything that can help someone is a good thing," said resident Sandra Fountain.

Opinions from the residents were ride ranging. Jessica Stone thinks the center is a good idea if executed properly.

"If it's just going to be the same thing - a place to eat and sleep and they're really not getting on their feet and getting out there - then it does worry me," resident Stone said.

Pastor Hazard say their goals goes beyond that, but as far as their role with the new center the future is still uncertain.

"We've got to be absolutely certain that this is going to enhance our ministry and help us do our mission," Pastor Hazard said.

The board is meeting next Tuesday to discuss the proposal and see how it works for them. Pastor hazard says don't expect an immediate verdict - they want some time so they can arrive at the right decision.