Work proceeding on City’s trail system
Efforts to make Panama City Beach a more bikeable and walkable community are ongoing as the City prepares to move forward with the eastern bookend of the Gayle’s Trails system which will go through Breakfast Point and eventually connect to Wildwood Road near the Hathaway Bridge in unincorporated Bay County.
Design has been completed for the eastern extension of Gayle’s Trails from about one mile west of Arnold High School toward Breakfast Point Subdivision, with construction expected to begin in 2019. Funding for this next 1.4-mile segment will come from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Sun Trail Grant program. The City anticipates advertising for bids on this next leg by the end of February.
A proposed 1.7-mile milled asphalt trail is planned with coordination for temporary location with The St. Joe Company that will allow access through the rest of Breakfast Point and create a path to the Bay County Sports Complex currently under construction. A permanent location will be part of the final design incorporated within each phase of Breakfast Point Subdivision as it is constructed. This connection allows possible access to local apartment complexes, existing residents along Wildwood Road, and westward to the Bay County Sports Complex, opening later this year.
The eastern trails will also eventually connect three beach schools. Gayle’s Trails will include access points to Arnold High School, Breakfast Point Academy and a new elementary school to be constructed by the sports park.
In January, the City Council approved a task order with Panhandle Engineering for the design of the 1.85-mile section (Phase II) of Gayle’s Trails.
The western bookend of the trail system connects the Panama City Beach Conservation Park to Colony Club Subdivision.
The 4.5-mile existing trail connects an extensive trail system at the Conservation Park to the west and runs from the most northern part of Griffin Boulevard down Powerline Road across State Road 79, passed the back of Frank Brown Park (with a connection to the park) and stops on Moonlight Bay Drive at Colony Club. At this trail head a portable library has been added where trail patrons can share a book or two.
“It’s exciting and encouraging to see further progress on our trail system,” said Kathy Younce, a city engineer. “We have been working on this connection for years, knowing it was a long-term project to establish a walkable and bikeable trail system for our residents and visitors to enjoy. We remain a few years away from its completion but it is something the residents of Panama City Beach can be proud of and enjoy on a daily basis.”
Also considered as part of Gayle’s Trails system are:
- 1.5 miles of trails at Aaron Bessant Park at Pier Park
- 3.5 miles of trails at Frank Brown Park
- 5 miles of trails up State Road 79 across the West Bay Bridge
The trail system is proposed to tie in to the sidewalks that cross the Hathaway Bridge which are outside the City limits. Here's a link the trail system: Trail and Future Trailways 11x17
Pictured is the entrance to Gayle's Trails on Gulf Boulevard near the wastewater treatment plant. There is a paved parking lot at the entrance for walkers, runners and bikers. The trail is dog friendly. There is also ample parking at the trail entrance located at the back of Frank Brown Park.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100, Ext. 2261.