If you’ve been in the Panama City/Panama City area for more than a few years, you have seen the remarkably positive development we have experienced. From a new airport to Gulf Coast State College’s Advanced Technology Center, to Pier Park and Harley, it definitely seems like we are on a growth trajectory (Hallelujah!)
Yesterday, however, there was a unique opportunity to be in a room with some of Bay County’s leaders of industry, a few of the folks making this development happen, and to hear their thoughts on the future of Bay County.
The Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Idea Works Committee hosted the event at the the Advanced Technology Center, on the campus of Gulf Coast State College, a panel discussion dedicated to the idea of growth in Bay County.
The panel included Neal Wade of the Economic Development Alliance, Jorge Gonzales from St. Joe Company, Wayne Stubbs from the Panama City Port Authority, Parker McClellan from Northwest Beaches International Airport, and Pamela Kidwell, from the Business Innovation Center.
Each business leader had his/her own perspective based on the matte, but the theme and tone of discussion was consistent – Bay County is going places. We are poised to really take off and become a newer, better version of ourself. No, we will never be Miami, but one thing is clear – we are the Redneck Riviera no longer.
I, for one, welcome this change, have longed for it, in fact. When considering the future, communities like ours have two choices: Grow or die. One only need drive through Callaway to see the effects of neglect on an area, then take a drive down the west end of Panama City Beach for contrast.
I can’t wait for the active adult community St. Joe is building. I welcome the expansion of the port and airport that is planned in coming years. I want to see more tech companies like Nanthealth (iSirona) make their home in my neighborhood.
This is good for all of us. There is no significant downside, and yesterday’s event was just another indicator that this ain’t your granddaddy’s Bay County anymore.
What are your thoughts on growth in Bay County?