Florida: Mexico Beach creating plans for the future

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane Michael showed Mexico Beach no mercy as its category five winds devastated the small coastal town.

"You know, this hurricane set us all through a loop," said Mexico Beach Resident, Julie Krouse.

But now nearly a year later, city officials, working hand in hand with federal and state agencies are seeing the first signs of a bright future.

"Well, there's trails, greenways I like to call them, there's rediversion projects of stormwater so we're not dumping the freshwater discharge into the Gulf," said Mexico Beach City Administrator Andy Anderson.

The city is hosting a Community Open House to show some of the plans they've created for stormwater management and greenspace improvements.

"So a lot of the mitigation is done to build the resiliency of the city so that if another storm comes it alleviates some of the flooding and such," said Anderson.

City leaders are working to get all plans in place. But first, they want input from the public.

"This is a community project, and we need the community input to design it in a way that it's beneficial to everybody that lives here," said Anderson.

And issues concerning citizens before the hurricane are also being addressed.

"We live off of 15th Street and we always walk to the beach and that bridge is very narrow, lots of traffic, and we've always suggested we get a walkway," said Mexico Beach Resident Debbie Brumage.

Anderson says tackling projects like this will help bring Mexico Beach back, better than it was before.

"Putting a sidewalk under [Highway] 98 bridge so you could go from one side to the other, it's a safety issue too," he said.

But with all these improvements, one idea isn't changing. The people who live there say they want Mexico Beach to keep its small-town feel.

"I want to keep that authenticity that we love here but at the same time, again if we can make it stronger and use the area even better to open it up for families, I think that's a good thing," said Krouse.

City officials say it will take three to five years before these plans come to life, but in the end, it will be worth the wait.

"The future is very bright," said Anderson.

Tuesday at the St. Joe Fire Department, another Community Open House will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. where you can see and discuss ideas for the future of Mexico Beach.

See WJHG-TV article . . .