Gulf of Mexico
Mike Fender / The News Herald

FL - Sea turtle advocates push for better Panama City Beach lighting as Front Beach Road manager hire looms

In a City Council meeting on Thursday, local officials will select a civil engineering firm to manage the extensive and ongoing construction project that began in the early 2000s to renovate portions of coastal roadways in Panama City Beach.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Kennard Watson, director of the Panama City Beach Turtle Watch, says it is crucial that the new Front Beach Road Community Redevelopment Area Plan manager considers installing turtle-friendly lighting along the Gulf Coast.

In a City Council meeting on Thursday, local officials will select a civil engineering firm to manage the extensive and ongoing construction project that began in the early 2000s to renovate portions of coastal roadways in Panama City Beach.

The firms being considered are DRMP, based in Orlando with an office in Panama City, and Panhandle Engineering, based in Lynn Haven. The winner will replace former CRA Manager David Campbell, who quit the position in December.

"(I hope) that with the recent turnover in the management of the CRA that the focus is not lost on the need for wildlife-friendly street lighting as part of the new infrastructure going on (along) Front Beach Road," Watson said.

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Watson also said that he often shared information about sea turtles with Campbell and the two had a good working relationship.

"He was the point of contact that I was using to share information on both the impacts of the current lighting on Front Beach Road on sea turtles and the need for improvements," he said.

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