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.