City Moving Forward with Aaron Bessant Park Improvements [Amphitheater]

Looks like the improvements we were discussing for Aaron Bessant Park are, indeed, coming.  Last week in a city council meeting, an “inter-local” agreement with Bay County was agreed upon to allow the City of Panama City Beach to take the lead on planning and development of this project.  Although two of the council members were adamantly opposed to the improvements, there was still an affirmative majority vote – 3 to 2.

All the improvements could include:

  • 60′x40′ amphitheater with permanent roof and walls suitable for theatrical productions, orchestral performances and musical events
  • Expanded amphitheater lawn area (see diagram below
  • Vegetative buffers around the parameter to prevent the need for temporary fencing
  • The Festival Lawn (the sandy area that’s used as overflow and vedor parking behind the park) will be improved to the quality of Frank Brown Park’s festival area
  • This area will support parking, play fields, and will have sod and irrigation
  • Additional bathroom facilities

At this point, the exact plans have not been decided upon.  The structure in a previous post is just a proposed idea.  The agreement that came to pass in the city council meeting just grants the City the ability to spearhead the planning of the new project.

The next step will bring plans and workshops before the final proposal and approval process.


9 thoughts on “City Moving Forward with Aaron Bessant Park Improvements [Amphitheater]

  1. I just love when your city decides to do something, it gets done. Period. I live in a city that has been discussing having two bridges built over 20 years. In the time our city officials have debated this issue, your city has built three beautiful bridges over bays and the intercoastal waterways that a twice as wide as our Ohio River. You should be proud of your city officials!


  2. Sounds like a great plan to me. Anything to improve the quality of life for residents or tourists, is certainly worth the effort. I don’t know where the financing is coming from but there appears there is a plan. For those two members that voted against it, I say thumbs down. Don’t wait for the next town to out-do you.


  3. I just love when a city decides to something, even though a majority of the residents that they ‘represent’ have been very vocal in expressing their concerns and disapproval of it. I say thumbs up to the two members who voted against the spending of $2.5+ million on a location that is already constrained in the event size and number of people it can host. The logical move would be to build it somewhere else in the area, so that even more tourists, music lovers, and sports players could be attracted, without adversely affecting the local businesses and further overburdening roads in the area. Look at all that undeveloped space between the beach and the airport! This is just BP money burning holes in their pockets…


    1. Right on the money Jeremy!
      From reading the “pro-location” comments, it seems these are folks who are tourists — or locals who don’t understand the negative impacts this plan will unleash. Kudos to the two councilmen who voted NO!

      If the St. Joe Co. were still involved in the process, I guarantee this current plan would not go forward. The level-headed and rational folks at Joe would have their engineers and master planners look at traffic impact, environmental impact, etc. etc. — and NOT BUILD IT in that location!! They would tell everyone the best land-use and most favorable place would be on the North side of Back Beach Road. Don’t believe me — just ask!


  4. I hope this venue will be a true ampitheatre with some slope so the people further away can see. I know it won’t be the Hollywood Bowl but some grade would be great. Love the forsight of the TDC, keep up the good work and don’t worry about the naysayers they will always pooh-pooh anything new that might inconveience them in the least way.


  5. I am happy to see that this is a possibility! Good planning is the first step in the right direction. Hats off to the mayor and council for planning and looking ahead to the positive impact this will have on the community!


  6. Sounds like a good addition to the community, but the location in that cramped space next to Pier Park does not seem like it would serve the intended purpose. An outdoor amphitheater should have some reasonably good acoustics, and not be fighting the noise of Front Beach Road. If there is some “windfall” money for this, how about some better planning about the number of potential attendees, traffic, parking, etc?


  7. Sometimes things must be built several blocks or miles away from each other to enjoy the true beauty of that “one” special item.
    If things are built on top of each other it takes away from the natural beginning & beauty of that place.
    Pier Park is a lovely place with brightly colored merchant buildings, restaurants & beach/Pier access. Why keep adding to a “Good” thing?
    It’s funny how these articles have evolved first with “New” addition of Kiddy Rides then possibly a “New” Wal-Mart to be built, then the “New” Amphitheater then an article on the Traffic situation…. and, all in the same tight area. It’s very hard to write your true feelings on each until the last one is posted. To be correct in your comments to an area that you have love for, you really must know the entirety first.
    For me, I have had to go back & re-read all the articles & my thoughts to put all these into one place……. I now see in my mind a crowded area ahead with too many things going on at one time. Growth and Change take place in all city’s across our country, sometimes good & sometimes not so good. If all this is to be for PCB and in this one area, I pray it is a good one.
    Good Luck, let me know when it’s over!


  8. If construction on Powel Adams Road is paid by Walmart. Does Walmart call all the shots? Also if that money must be paid back to Walmart The community should be well versed on the how and when. Also what will the percentage of interest be on such a venture? Many cities in the US are in deep water. What happens on loans of high dollar amounts if the dollar continues falling in value? The road does need improvement.


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