Snag In Community Resource Center Plan? - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Snag In Community Resource Center Plan?

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Panama City, Fla. -

Whether you are for it or against it, the Community Resource Center has stirred up debate seemingly around Bay County. Now, a decision that was met with little opposition just a week ago tonight seems to have hit a few road blocks.

Last week, city commissioners agreed to purchase land up Star Avenue and Highway 231 for a new homeless resource center. The Panama City Rescue Mission met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss their involvement with the new center.

"It just doesn't work for us," said Reverend Billy Fox with the Rescue Mission. "10 miles outside of town just isn't conducive to what we do as our major function, and that's bringing people to Christ and a new life.

At their last meeting, Panama City commissioners wanted a guarantee that the mission and the new center would not be open at the same time. A week later, the consensus from the mission was clear - they're not shutting down or moving to the new center.

"The property belongs to us, and that's where we are until we have an opportunity to make a change," Rev. Fox said.

The city was set to explore the voluntary annexation and purchase of the 70 acres of unincorporated land from the St. Joe Company.

"Just to annex the property will take two meetings, and then there's going to be subsequent meetings regarding the future land use and zoning on it," said city manager Jeff Brown.

In addition, Brown says a tiny 5 acre un-incorporated piece of land right in the center of the proposed site and city property may cause a few issues.

"State statute prohibits you from creating an enclave," Brown said. "An enclave is unincorporated property that is completely surrounded by a municipality."

Brown says they hope to work the issue out, but the decision by the rescue mission may prove to be an even bigger snag in their plans.

"We're gonna hold on and do what's best for the people we help, as well as the people who support us," Rev. Fox said.

Fox says while they have no interest in moving to the new center, they would be open to negotiating a building or land transfer with the city so they can continue with expanding their mission.