Panama City Beach officials approve $21M offshore stormwater outfall project

(UC) — The Panama City Beach city council and Mayor Mark Sheldon have approved a more than $21 million grant to fund the construction of an offshore stormwater outfall that will be installed in the Gulf of Mexico across from Lullwater Lake.

The project—which was allocated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021 as part of about $111 million doled out to 22 communities across the state—will only combine stormwater outfall near Lullwater Lake and Calypso Resort and Tower, channel the stormwater underground and deposit it about 1,500 feet into the Gulf.

The stormwater basins have a combined surface area of about 1,000 acres, according to information provided by Panama City Beach officials. That includes everything south of Panama City Beach Parkway from about State 79 to Hills Road, as well as Frank Brown Park and Pier Park North.

"Development is full speed ahead, (and) we are excited about it," Mayor Sheldon told the Panama City News-Herald in a interview. "We know it's going to be a great project — probably the best thing that's happened to Panama City Beach in a long time."

The grant was funded by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's (DEO) Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program, which started the program for communities hammered by Category 5 Hurricane Michael. It helps communities rebuild and harden their critical infrastructure to better withstand future natural disasters.

Mayor Sheldon did not provide of timeline for the project, but said it was just a matter of completing the outfall's design, selecting a contractor and getting construction underway.

"It's an environmental project that helps out," Sheldon said. "It takes away so much of the nastiness that goes across the beach. ...  It's just really going to enhance the quality of life and the tourism in that section of the beach."


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