Ward 3 Councilman Geoff McConnell says PCB is addressing infrastructure needs for a growing city
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - We all know the sun and sand bring a lot of tourists to Panama City Beach, but now officials say it's attracting people who want to live in the city full time.
Some say the Gulf of Mexico draws in tourists, but it's also bringing in a new demographic.
"People who come here just really fall in love with this," Dan Rowe, President and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach said.
City officials say the area is quickly growing and the city is working to keep up.
"We're looking at our sidewalks. I've asked the department head, the city manager to look at setting aside a budget line item strictly for sidewalks," Geoff McConnell, Ward Three councilman for Panama City Beach said.
Road projects like Bay Parkway are designed to help keep the extra traffic moving.
"We also have water and sewage. Right now we have plenty of overhead to address the needs of the current developments we have on hand," McConnell said. "Hopefully out in the future we'll keep an eye on that and if necessary we'll have it in the plans to have another wastewater utility division out there."
To keep up with growth, city leaders need to make sure the infrastructure keeps up as well.
"We've got two apartment complexes coming in," McConnell explained. "We've got one large housing development over on Middle Beach. We've had three different hotels come into the area and set up."
Tourism officials say the growth, in part, is likely the result of marketing the area.
"You know the 'Field of Dreams' movie had it completely wrong, 'build it and they will come,' you know, you really have to build it and market it and people will come," Rowe said.
Visit Panama City Beach reported an 11.6 percent increase in visitor spending last year compared to 2016.