Panama City moving forward with marina development plan

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PANAMA CITY, FL -- (WTVY) Tuesday, Panama City commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with conducting a feasibility study for the marina development project.

The study will cover things like traffic the project would create and whether roads can handle it. It will also look at other economic and financial factors.

City leaders say the marina is the single biggest piece of property downtown.

They say moving forward with the study will determine if the city can maintain the balance between public amenity and economic development.

"Anybody can manipulate numbers and they've done it before and they'll probably do it again to make the feasibility study fit the design that they want that Sonnenblick has put up there and is in the contract," Frank DePinto, a local who opposes the plan said.

"I can't wait to see what happens when we have an actual convention center and hotels," Suzanne McDowell, a Bay County local said, "and we have all of the development that will grow up around it."

The city's attorney says the city has not agreed to any marina lease terms or conditions. He also says they haven't agreed to the amount of new tax revenue to reinvest into the project.

City leaders say if the project fails, any money the developer borrows will be his obligation to pay back.

City leaders also say they have a goal to identify active partners in the marina project by October 22nd. They're expecting the developer to provide a financial analysis study by February.

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