Frank Brown Smoking Ban a Message to Thunder Beach?

by August 17, 2009 • 8 comments

This September the Thunder Beach Rally will again vibrate the streets of Panama City Beach to mixed emotions. While many love the three-day event and tour from venue to venue on bikes others loathe the event and consider it, at the least, an unnecessary scourge on Panama City Beach’s reputation. No board on Panama City Beach has had an opinion on the matter allowing the event to proceed. But recent considerations on a potential ban could be speaking, albeit very quietly, its position.

Take yourself back a few months to the Spring Bike Rally on Panama City Beach. There were a number of venues stretching from Ms. Newby’s to Pier Park. But it was Frank Brown Park who saw the majority of bikers. If you were to visit the venue hours after the event was over, you probably would not have known anything of consequence had happened. There were a few bits of trash here and there and the occasional bandana; nothing particularly startling. But, if you were to take a closer look, there was residue that could not be missed. Everywhere, throughout the entire field at Frank Brown Park, there were thousands and thousands of cigarette butts.

To that point, Panama City Beach City Council is considering banning smoking from the park entirely. Now, it goes without saying that not every biker smokes and certainly others such as parents of softball and soccer players will be affected by the ban. Still, part of the draw for using Frank Brown Park as a venue for the leather-clad event is its open-air “field” mentality. Such restrictions would severely change that identity. The council plans to discuss the ban further early next month, just in time for the Fall Bike Rally.

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1 Jane August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I just bet Pier Park has something to do with this, yes, ban smoking at Frank Brown and have the bike rally moved to Pier Park. Have baseball moved to Pier Park. Why not just tear down every single hotel, restaurant,and business except Pier Park. Pier Park has become a cancer to lots of businesses, events.

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2 brad August 18, 2009 at 8:54 am

I take exception to Janes comment.
For the past 15 years we have vacationed in Destin. this year i reluctantly agreed to bring the family to PCB. To my surprise we had an incredible trip. My kids loved pier park, they spent their whole trip there and at the beach.
We will definately come back just to enjoy that area.
Most family vacationers do not want to have to wade through cigarette butts, trash, condom shops, and oxygen bars.
Pier park provides a first class family atmosphere and hopefully will continue to attract travelers to the area.
I would and could argue that Pier Park is the single best thing to happen to PCB.
To refer to it as a cancer is simply foolish.

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3 jellen August 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I agree with Brad and very much disagree with Jane. Thunder Beach doesn’t fit in with the aesthetics of Pier Park. In several past posts, I have read that the Thunder Beach bikers don’t trash the beach. Well, Frank Brown Park is part of the beach (PCB) and cigarette butts are trash. Throwing cigarette butts on the ground is littering. It’s inconsiderate of other people and of the earth.

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4 John August 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Jane is way off and if I guess correctly a smoker. Pier Park does not have the space to host the events you mentioned. Actually Pier Park helps to increase hotel reservations and other buisness revenues.
Brad’s comments are a direct reflection of the majority of Locals, business owners and visitors regarding Pier Park and the positive affect it has produced.
The problem is that most smokers have NO regard or consider that throwing there butts out the car window, infront of a store before entering, ON THE BEACH!!! and yes the ground at Frank Brown is “LITTERING”. And speaking for those who don’t smoke, I say people throwing cigerette butts should be FINED$$, a heavy fine along with community service.

John O.

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5 Xine August 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I use the FBP children’s area weekly with my kids and there are ALWAYS cigarette butts littering the ground. I’ve spoken to Mary Carmichael, Park Director, about this and asked for more prominent “no smoking” signs to be posted, but that never happened. There is a park rules sign in the kids area that says to tobacco products, but it’s embedded in a list of a dozen other rules, so no one reads it. I’ll be glad to have this enforced at least in the kids area, since I’m always worried about my 2 year old picking up a butt in the sand box. Yuck!

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6 Joey August 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I sense anger in Janes post. Are you a business owner? if so is your business having trouble? if so what is the real problem? I ask those questions because I can think of no other reason for such a remark. The fact is the community of PCB have been pushing hard to develop the area into a family eviornment. As a Realtor for many years I have heard over and over 2 remarks that have caused me to lose many very wealthy clients
1. It’s too hard to get here by plane.
2. There isn’t anything to do; shopping and few Restaurants.

The Airport will solve the first and for those complainers who say we don’t need it “I say your WRONG”. I question the complaining remarks in the News Hearlds Editoral with “when did you last fly?”
I booked a flight to Chicago 2 months in advance and the only problem with seating was the PCB to Atlanta and Atlanta to PCB THE FLIGHTS ARE BOOKED. I fly often and this is a common occurance.

Pier Park is a giant leap forward in solving the second complaint of nothing to do.

I ask all who are complaining about the progress in PCB, A functional new Airport and a Beautiful outdoor lifestyle Mall (beach to 98 that will never be reproduced due to land restrictions) is this not the quality we want to see for PCB? An example of the quality and planning that we should demand in future developments. Do you actually believe with beaches like ours they won’t be discovered?

Joey

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7 Jake August 19, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Pier Park a cancer????
I actually had to read Jane’s post twice to make sure I didn’t miss the point or a vital fact that would warrant this classification.

Look, the bottom line is this – Pier Park has raised the bar for business in Panama City Beach. It attracts the kind of crowds and spenders that we need and want for the current economy as well as for the longevity of the beach. It has attracted NEW vendors that 2-4 years ago would have never considered Panama City Beach as a viable business location – but due to the success of Pier Park, they now have the clientele to help their business stay afloat in such a depressed economy.

My question to Jane would be this (and I would really like for her to respond if she reads this), what events has Pier Park caused to cease to exist? They have added concerts, fireworks (for both New Years & July 4th, and other family events (such as street painting & Humane Society events), but I am not aware of any events that are no longer in place because of Pier Park.

It would seem to be that Frank Brown Park and Pier Park compliment each other very well since there are so many national baseball/softball games hosted at Frank Brown Park that end up spilling over to Pier Park once the games are over & everyone is ready to eat, walk around, go to the movies and perhaps shop a bit.

Why would the addition of quality things to do, quality places to shop (for locals & non-locals alike), a clean and pleasant atmosphere be considered a cancer?… I mean, has the ability to get drunk, get a tattoo, and get arrested all on one block of Front Beach Rd. been all that “healthy” for our image thus far???

On a more personal note, I used to live in Palmetto Trace and would often go to Frank Brown Park in the evenings during September since the weather is so nice. There is a NOTABLE difference in litter after Thunder Beach. Cigarette butts, beer cans, trash… etc.

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8 Jan August 19, 2009 at 9:58 pm

back to the article….. Maybe Frank Brown Park could maybe establish a certain area for smokers? I am not a smoker, but do understand the addiction of smokers.What I don’understand is the littering of the butts all over the place.

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