[VIDEO] South Thomas Drive CRA Complete

by June 28, 2012 • 19 comments

Short of a bit of landscaping and some finish work, the South Thomas Drive CRA is complete!  They’ve been working on this project since September of 2009 and regardless of delays, setbacks and disappointed expectations, the improvements look awesome.  So, before you start flaming off in the comments about how you know how to run a project of this magnitude so much better and how if YOU were running it it would have been all perfect, just go take a drive through there and enjoy it.  It’s really fantastic.

I won’t spend a whole lot of time walking you through what they did, as we’ve discussed that in great length here, here and here – so let’s get right to the video!

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1 Linda June 29, 2012 at 8:45 am

Looks fantastic. It will really look great once the trees grow out and the barrels are removed. Loved the video


2 Gregg June 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

What section of the beach is next Jason? What is the latest on the Hwy 79/Hwy 98 intersection, was the design work just pitched in the garbage?


3 Biggen July 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

There is no more CRA money left for road work currently. Alf Coleman, Lyndell, etc… have all partial engineering plans but there simply isn’t money left any longer to do this kind of work. The only reason Powell Adams is being done is because of Wal-Mart putting up the money to have it done.

The second phase of the CRA Front Beach Rd. development (think everything west of Coyote Ugly’s to Pier Park) has also been shelved for the time being. Just no money in the CRA coffers for this kind of stuff anymore. Just as the multi-model facility (to be built tram station with a parking garage across from Ripleys) has no money either for construction.

In other words, be content with what we have as there won’t be much done in the foreseeable future.


4 Jason Koertge July 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

Actually, this is only partially correct. There has never been just money laying around for any of the CRA projects. They have all been a delicate balance of grants and bonds on future CRA revenue that have funded them.

When the Churchwell CRA portion was being worked on, they were still trying to figure out the funding puzzle for Beckrich Road (renamed R Jackson). Same with S Thomas Drive. In fact, any delays in getting started with any of the projects have been funding related.

As you can imagine, it costs a boat load of money to do these projects. They are supposed to be funded by monies that are generated by CRA portion of the property tax (don’t remember exactly how that works (maybe a good article ;))).

But with the real estate market being in the condition it has been in the last couple years, the original revenue projections are way off and funding has been hard. Of course, add the complexities of the bond market, and you have a dream that’s near impossible to fund.

So, having not spoken to the new City Manager Mario Gisbert about the next steps of the CRA, I can make as assumption that they are working on funding, and when it’s secure, they’ll make it happen.

Things like the Multi Model Transit Center have been put off for a while until the economic situation improves. It’s a great idea, but the cost/need benefit isn’t quite there yet.


5 Biggen July 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Isn’t that basically what I said? No money? 😉

Jason is correct. Property values feed property taxes which, in turn, feed CRA funding. With values still trending down there simply isn’t money to do another CRA phase. It cost over $12 million dollars to do the Thomas Drive phase. I can only imagine how much it could cost to do Phase 2 all the way down to Pier Park.


6 Cathy June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am

As I commented on your Facebook page when I first watched the video….. you did a fantastic job showing all of us how S. Thomas Drive looks now. I can remember back two years ago it was full of potholes, ruts & big loaders pushing & pulling sand/dirt all around. I really had no idea they were going to give this area such an updated look! But, I love it! When the palms fill out (and they will) and all the grasses, blooming plants grow some it will be green, lush & beautiful.
Progress, what an amazing thing!
Thanks again, Cathy/Tennessee


7 PCB Citizen June 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hats off to the community leaders with the vision to plan these excellent improvements and the construction teams with the skills to make them a reality!


8 Robert June 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Looks great. Sure hope Alf Coleman is next. Anyone have any idea what’s next?


9 jamnolfin June 30, 2012 at 12:10 am

The road between Target and Walmart will happen soon. 79 needs to be next. Why Alf Coleman? Theres nothing on Alf Coleman but a outdated water park.


10 Robert June 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm

An “outdated” water park that does a heck of a business and brings a lot of traffic up Alf Coleman. A lot of people also walk and ride bicycles on that road coming from Stone Harbour and Cabana West. Also every time it rains the road floods.


11 Christy June 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

WOW! Looks really nice! Good Job! Will be down in 4 days to see it for myself :-).


12 Eric June 30, 2012 at 11:05 am


Thanks again for keeping us informed about PCB. I really appreciate your efforts.


13 Gus Pickerill July 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

One concern I have is the number of palm trees in the median, particularly at the crosswalks between Pineapple Willy’s and the Laketown Wharf condos. It’s easy for a driver to lose sight of someone crossing at those spots. A driver cannot yield to pedestrians if the pedestrians cannot be seen.


14 Biggen July 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

Finally done! I have been an opponent of this since the day it got started since the construction had adversely affected my business. I’m just glad it’s over and done with. Nothing like 2.5 years of construction/cones/tractors in front of your business to really turn you off to the entire process. I will say it looks good for a visual standpoint. It didn’t do anything to help with drainage (remember the intersection was closed a month ago when we had those torential downpours because it flooded) nor traffic but it does make everything much more pedestrian friendly which is a good thing.

Again, just glad it’s done.


15 Mike July 5, 2012 at 9:42 am


Thank you very much for taking the time to get us out-a-towners an update on the S.Thomas Drive upgrade. It looks fantastic! Any idea when the trolley car and mid-intersection mural will be completed?


16 Ed M. July 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Burned again. I can not understand WHY the road contracts are let without completion
dates. And daily penalties for each day that the contract goes beyond the completion date.

I have been working in construction industry as an engineer and I always set a completion
date and daily penalties in my managed contracts. Only if there was an unforeseen
problem or an act of God did the completion get extended for the time lost.

It is high time that Panama City does what the rest of the country does in letting
road and bridge contracts.


17 JOE JEZEWSKI October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Yes Yes Yes, the South Thomas Drive improvements look FABULOUS! I live in Dothan and have owned a unit at the Sunbird for over 10 years, so I vividly recall how dreadful, awful, (insert your own adjective here) this “road” always was for years. Even if I DIDN’T own property along this stretch, I would have voted for this area to be one of the FIRST to be given a facelift. Thanks for the REAL ROAD, P.C.B.!


18 Dladla January 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

i think behr paint (behr.com) has something like that, but i bevleie there is a $5 fee i’ve not used it, but i have looked at colors on the website before. also you can pick up the paint booklets/chips at home depot (from behr) and the booklets has complimentary colors and shows the paint in different rooms.i personally like the behr paint (semi gloss) because its wonderful for being able to clean it especially with kids and crayons, markers, finger paints, etc. it is a little costlier than most paints, but it covers great and last great also if you use the behr paint and there is something wrong with the paint itself a behr representative will come out and paint your walls for you (there has to be something