What the future holds for Mexico Beach

Building back from a hurricane is not an easy job. Mexico Beach is continuing to rebuild after the city was destroyed by Hurricane Michael.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Mexico Beach’s quaint small town is growing into something much bigger.

“It’s growing very fast it has filled in a lot,” said Steven Holling, a local.

Locals like Holling see the growth firsthand, but there’s still work to be done.

“The smaller businesses need to grow. There has to be some sort of diversity in order to support people coming in,” said Holling.

The people are coming in, just ask Sabra Baker who works at Crazy Beach Pizza.

“I have seen more people than we have in the past years even before the hurricane I think it’s more houses coming in and having a place to stay,” said Sabra Baker.

Mexico Beach is growing, and the city is still being rebuilt 4 and a half years after Hurricane Michael. Many of the places are apartments, hotels and the pier.

“4 and a half years have gone by like a marathon, so it is tough,” said Doug Baber, the city administrator.

He added there’s been a lot of change since Hurricane Michael hit.

“We’ve seen some drastic improvements. All the houses are going up, bigger complexes coming in,” said Baber.

Even with all the progress, there is still a need to rebuild some key fixtures.

“We still have not had the chance to build back our police fire and our civic center. Our iconic pier in Mexico Beach is getting close as well as our jetties,” said Baber.

Some simple things are still missed.

“A grocery store would be nice,’ said Baber.

The tourist hotspots are coming back.

“Toucans broke ground in the last couple of weeks. We’re working with the El Governor to open partially this summer, Driftwood opened last year, Gulf View Motel opened this year. We continue to get opportunities for more and more people to stay here,” said Baber.

With the summer season fast approaching, there’s no time to focus on what was lost.

“We’re looking forward to summer and being busy again,” said Baker.

Many in Mexico Beach are focused on the future, as the city aims to build back stronger than ever before.