Mayor Mark Sheldon: Public Art, Veteran Banners and Beach Safety

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It’s been a busy summer on the world’s most beautiful beaches, and Panama City Beach is being made more beautiful by two City initiatives.

The first is our SeeLife 2 project, which placed 10 brightly-colored sculptures throughout our community this summer. This is an ongoing project, with a total now of 21 dolphins, sea turtles, and sea horses located on both public City properties and at private businesses and entities.

We are honored to share the talents of these local artists, who merged creativity and skill in bringing these unique pieces to life. They are truly one-of-a-kind. We love the SeeLife program and want it to continue. More SeeLife pieces will be available in the future.

This project is the fulfillment of something our residents wanted. Several years ago, our strategic planning process and citizen survey identified the community’s desire for public art. These artistic pieces enhance and beautify our public spaces and contribute to a more attractive community while encouraging both an appreciation and a love of art.

Art has many benefits to a community by encouraging community engagement, demonstrating pride, and solidifying our community identity and brand through the placement of this fun art. This is just a win-win — showcasing great talent for the enjoyment of everyone.

The SeeLife project would not be possible without our donors. This latest round of art was funded exclusively by Visit Panama City Beach. Dr. Ronald and JoAnn Dubin Family Foundation, the St. Joe Community Foundation, and the City funded the first SeeLife project.

The second project we have ongoing, which should make us all especially proud, is the installation of the Veteran Hero banners. Anyone can purchase a banner for any veteran or active duty personnel, and we place these on the light poles within the Front Beach Road Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).

Nearly 70 banners are located on Powell Adams Road, Front Beach Road, Richard Jackson Boulevard and South Thomas Drive. We have more spaces available. If you would like to salute a veteran, contact Communications Director Debbie Ingram at City Hall. Banners are $100 each and will be returned to the purchaser when they are taken down, which will be after Veterans Day. These make a great keepsake for family members.

Both these projects are important to me, as beautification of the City was one of my primary campaign goals, along with building on a great quality of life.

We truly do have the world’s most beautiful beaches, but we recognize that our rip currents can be dangerous. This summer has been especially taxing on our beach safety personnel and first responders, due to an unprecedented 11 straight days of double-red flags in mid-to-late-June.

Like other beach communities, the City follows Florida’s uniform beach flag warning system which requires all public beaches to display uniform warning flags to inform the public of the presence of dangerous rip currents. This flag system is not perfect, but it provides a consistent message to all beachgoers.

Beach warning flag signage is also posted at every public beach access and can be found posted in condos, vacation rentals, and hotel rooms.

The reason for these flags and signage is simple – to educate our residents and visitors alike on water conditions in the Gulf. When the beach is flying two red flags, one under the other, it means the Gulf is closed to swimmers. This is not negotiable. For the safety of everyone, you simply cannot be in the water under these rough water conditions.

A few years ago, the City passed an ordinance to impose penalties for those who do not get out of the water during double red, when instructed by beach safety, code enforcement, and/or police personnel. This was a necessary move to save lives. As you can imagine, our visitors are often unhappy when flags are double red and they are told they can’t get in the water.

The process of trying to keep everyone safe is emotionally and physically draining for our beach staff. As such, I would like to take this time to commend our beach safety staff, code enforcement officers, firefighters, and police officers who are working on nine miles of beach every day. They work hard to keep everyone safe and they are to be applauded for their efforts, especially in this intense heat, and under grueling conditions.

Panama City Beach has beautiful beaches for the enjoyment of locals and visitors, and we will continue to do all we can to make sure our locals are protected and all our visitors remain safe during their time here.

The post Mayor Mark Sheldon: Public Art, Veteran Banners and Beach Safety appeared first on PCB Life | Panama City Beach News, Events and Community Information.


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