Quality of life is important to any community, but I like to think in Panama City Beach we prioritize having fun and offering a variety of amenities and events for our residents and visitors.
One of the City’s gems is Frank Brown Park, which opened in 1977 with two baseball fields and a soccer field. It was renamed Frank Brown Park in 1983 to honor the longtime educator and father of youth sports in Panama City Beach.
On the heels of celebrating 40 years since the renaming, the City Council has established a list of priorities for expanding and renovating the park. This was after a master plan was commissioned last year to bring some new features to the park that we felt our community was lacking.
What is Coming
So let me tell you what is coming. We are adding up to 10 pickleball courts near the center of the park where the basketball courts are currently located. We are saying “up to 10” because we are not sure how many can fit into the space. We have to allow for stormwater needs, which could include the construction of a retention pond.
But we are not doing away with basketball. Four new courts are going in and will be located toward the front of the park. These courts will be facing north and south instead of east and west to allow for better usage.
Also toward the front of the park, we are adding a beginner skate park and eventually a BMX park. The access road that connects the Mandy Lane entrance to Pier Park Drive is being straightened out to give us a better use of the space.
New expanded restrooms are being added at the center of the park, and handicapped-accessible restrooms are being constructed next to Miracle League Field. We are adding more paved parking north of the basketball courts and additional lighting will be added at all the features, to allow for night use.
There will also be improvements to the maintenance facility because we know with more amenities comes more maintenance. The plan is to install a taller pole barn to accommodate park equipment and add a break room for staff, along with other improvements.
A safe room/community center annex for field and special event evacuations is also going in at the park adjacent to the community center. This was previously approved and is being partially funded by a $4.4 million grant from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program through the Florida Department of Emergency Management. The safe room is currently under architectural design.
Our park is utilized by tens of thousands of people each year. Our fields alone receive high use from the local community for both travel and recreational sports. Youth and adult teams come here from across the country to play in major tournaments on our fields.
These amenities will add a new dimension to the park. Many features, like the BMX and skate parks, widen the park’s use by adding something different that can be enjoyed by our residents year-round. And from the restrooms to the lights to additional parking – all of this was desperately needed. This is a big overhaul for one of the best multipurpose parks in the area.
Great things are happening in Panama City Beach!
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