Bay County Commissioners Weigh In On Community Resource Center - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bay County Commissioners Weigh In On Community Resource Center

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The controversy over the Community Resource Center (CRC) has been elevated to the county level.

Several citizens who live in the Cherokee Heights subdivision, which is near the proposed site, appeared before the Bay County Commission at Tuesday's meeting.  They told commissioners they don't want the facility near their homes.

Last week, the Panama City Commission voted to purchase 70 acres off Star Avenue for construction of the CRC and centralize services to the homeless population there.

"I don't think the area that is being talked about is appropriate," said Phyllis Taylor, who lives on Merritt Brown Way.  "It will affect the safety of the community [and] we have a lot of schools in that area."

Her neighbor, Michelle Spencer, agreed.  "The location is not ideal for several reasons and I would just like to let the board know I would not like to see this in my community."

County commissioners said they have not been kept in the loop.  They agreed that addressing the homeless issue is important, but suggested the city is going about it the wrong way – and in the wrong place.

"I applaud the mayor and commission for trying to put all the services that can help them together," said Commissioner Mike Thomas.  "I just question where it is and I question the method of doing it."

Commissioner Bill Dozier has opposed the CRC since it was first proposed.  "I don't think by just relocating a problem that you're going to solve the problem," he said.

Commissioner Guy Tunnell said he has received many calls and emails since the city commission's vote.  "I'm concerned about public safety... the utility situation… [and] transportation in that area," said Tunnell.  "I guess in a nutshell, the overall quality of life."

The board authorized Chairman George Gainer to meet with Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki to learn specifics of the city's plans.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approved a plan to obtain a 25 year loan at an interest rate of 2.99% to finance a $13.7 million expansion of the courthouse.  The loan from Compass Bank will be repaid with funds from fines, fees and other courthouse revenue.
  • Approved the first reading of an amendment to a development agreement with The St. Joe Company.  The agreement would extend the company's agreement to develop RiverCamps on Crooked Creek for 30 years.
  • Conducted swearing-in ceremonies for re-elected commissioners Thomas, Dozier and Mike Nelson.