Panama City officials seek community input on rebuilding Joe Moody Harris Park

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Designers, architects and city officials were eager to hear what residents had to say about their concept designs for Joe Moody Harris Park on Monday night.

They showed off these designs at an open house at the park, and dozens of residents showed up to view the proposals and make suggestions.

“This is a community facility, and it’s the individuals who are going to use it, their families and their friends,” said Sean DePalma, director of Panama City Quality of Life. “We want to make sure that we bring back here what they want to enjoy every day and over the years.”

Hurricane Michael cut down more than 1,200 trees in the park in 2018, destroying the facilities.

“Now we are standing up, we are rebuilding and we are doing it better than before,” said DePalma.

Even since the storm, Joe Moody Harris Park has had a hard time. It was vandalized just a few months ago.

“We came together as a community and cleaned up the park because it was occupied by people who were spreading messages contrary to the good people in Panama City and this neighborhood,” said Janice Lucas, a resident of Panama City. . “We are looking forward to the return of the park.

Lucas lives right next to the park and she said she has ideas for additions to current design concepts, including an element of urban ecology.

“We can make connections by teaching our young people about nature and the environment, and a place where people can come and learn community gardening, how to grow their own food,” Lucas said. “We would like the park to be a place not only for recreation, but also for education. “

DePalma called the open house a success.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive… They like what we’ve put in place to start with and then they give us their opinion on some of the things they would like to see there and we’re very open to that,” he said. . . “We’ll see how we can integrate it. “

Lucas said she looks forward to the future of the park.

“I think these plans are a good first draft and that the contribution of the community is essential to achieve what we want, so that the people who really live in this neighborhood can enjoy the park and also benefit from it”, she said.

Residents who were unable to make it to the meeting can submit their comments to city officials.

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