St. Andrews Marina contract is still being negotiated

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Some Panama City residents voiced their frustrations that Panama City staff did not do enough to publicize last Friday’s special meeting about the public-private partnership for the St. Andrews Marina.

Last summer the city realized they did not have the funds to repair hurricane damages at the marina, and FEMA would not cover all the expenses. Then, a private group approached the city about a private-public partnership.

St. Andrews Marina Partners, LLC eventually won the bid to rebuild the marina at their cost, and then get exclusive rights to operate it. The contract proposal included a possible hotel on the property, which drew a lot of opposition.

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Partnership leaders said they included the hotel because city staff had mentioned it, it’s now being removed from the contract as the negotiations continue.

“Originally, the city communicated that we don’t want to put anything into the marina, we’re just supplying it as is, you got to fix everything,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said. “Well, obviously, a private partner can only do so much and so today we made the decision to say, hey, look, we need to put some money into it so that ultimately we can protect the aspects of the community wants, but also get us across the finish line and getting this marina rebuilt.”

Commissioners also agreed they do not want the contract to last for 60 years. City staff plans to schedule another public meeting in April. They’ll continue to work out the contract terms based on Tuesday’s conversation.

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