The Trees and Vegetation: Did you know that the City has $150,000 in their budget for tree removal along W. Beach Drive to make way for a proposed 2nd sidewalk? Do you want to see the trees plowed down that survived the hurricane, that provide the old Florida look, and that provide cover for the raptors to nest?

Depending on how aggressive the City decides to destroy, perhaps as many as 300 trees will be lost along W. Beach Drive, if the City insists on a 2nd sidewalk. Are you willing to give up the trees that create a hurricane and beach erosion barrier? The trees that help mitigate wind damage and storm surge?

Some of the existing trees are slow growing long-leaf pines estimated to be 75+ years old. Even if new trees are eventually planted, it will be many years before they achieve the mature stature we see now. The old Florida look we enjoy with the mix of oak and evergreen will be lost forever. Once the tall trees are gone, they’re gone.

Panama City has historically and proudly been known as a nationally designated “Tree City”. Quoting the Tree Cities of the World website, “…trees can increase property values from 7 to 20 %” and “yield 3 to 5 times their cost in overall benefits to the city.” Who decided we should abandon these advantages or this recognition?

The Wild Habitat and the Sea Oats: The shoreline south of W. Beach Drive is an extraordinary habitat and an increasingly rare example of the natural look of north Florida. Everyone can enjoy it during a slow drive down the road. This is the place where native plants grow wild and sea oats wave.

The Beach Birds: In the city’s proposal for a 2nd sidewalk are lights, benches, trash cans, bike racks and those things that lots of people seem to need. What impact do you think all of these objects will have on the ecosystem along the shoreline? The beautiful shorebirds who nest in the native shrubs and on the ground near the shoreline will have to combat all these things. Do you want to replace pelicans, egrets, herons, plovers, and sanderlings with bikes, racks, and trash cans?

Litter and Noise: A 2nd sidewalk much promoted by the City will bring many more people into a quiet neighborhood. People will bring litter and noise. In addition, they'll bring barbeque grills, six pack floaties, tents and dueling tunes.  Increased usage near Lake Caroline is already proving destructive! Will the beach birds survive the litter or swallow it and die? Will the fires in the barbeque grills and in the sand pits be put out completely, or will we have a fire that destroys the waterfront? Why introduce so much risk into a residential neighborhood with historic homes and a historic wildlife refuge? 

If the 2nd sidewalk was just for the purpose of connectivity, it would still be redundant, unnecessary, and potentially destructive to the existing habitat. However, the areas planned use for so much more than walking purposes will put the entire ecosystem at risk. 

Be their voice and sign the petition to help save their homes.