June 19th | Business & Property Owners Focus Group
Meeting 1 Key Takeaways
- Businesses and property owners are interested in pursuing a relaxed minimum parking requirements.
- Participants expressed a strong interest in a long-term solution of removing and relocating the tank farm, with the potential to adapt the space into a park.
- Business and property owners are concerned with safety and security in City of Panama City and Downtown.
- Stormwater management is a concern. Business and property owners would like to explore the idea of managing this district-wide, rather than by private lot.
- There are many existing needs to help support existing businesses. Participants suggested supporting these businesses through short-term and long-term solutions. These included improved marketing to increase commerce, street beautification (e.g., planters), increased residential spaces intermixed with commercial spaces, and improved streetscapes (e.g., renderings/art posted on the businesses while they are
under development or blighted). This presents an opportunity to partner with local art organizations and artists.
- Participants identified the need to implement economic incentives to attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to return.
Meeting 2 Key Takeaways
- Derelict buildings need to be immediately removed. This should be a funding priority, rather than funneling money toward good-but-not-great quality facilities.
- The City should loosen restrictions on events. They inhibit public engagement and drive money and facility utilization elsewhere.
- There should be an emphasis on localism when considering City events. There is a historic character that Panama City, especially its downtown, embodies, and this should be thoroughly advertised.
- There needs to be action, not just discussion. No matter how small, each activity carries a big impact. This is especially true as it comes to clean-up efforts.
- Downtown lacks a unified identity. Creating a brand can help to create a destination and a sense of place.
- Community buy-in and business-to-business collaboration are critically important for this focus group.