Panama City is back in business - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Panama City is back in business

July 11, 2005

Panama City Beach, FL -- Crews at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort spruced up the pool deck and scooped up debris on the beach today. Hurricane Dennis shut them down and stirred up a mess over the weekend. General Manager Cody Khan said, "we want the world to know we're open for business."

First thing this morning, dozens of workers started preparing the hotel for the return of guests. "We have been very fortunate compared to the people to the west of us," Khan said.

The only real damage at the Holiday Inn was done right out on the beach where high surf ripped down fencing and washed away tiki huts. Khan took that damage in stride. "I guess it's just part of living on the pretty Gulf of Mexico."

City work crews were actually out cleaning up yesterday not long after Dennis hit land. Panama City Beach Police Chief Robert Harding said, "we have a plan in place. The city knows what to do. The business people know what to do. They just put their plans in motion."

If you come to Panama City this week, you may have to dodge scattered debris on the beach, but you won't see any major damage. "There's no restrictions. There's no curfews. All the bridges are open. The businesses are starting to open back up," the chief said.

But you may see signs of the storm. The wind and surf bent a big flag pole that normally lets beachgoers know the surf conditions. Today, instead of a red flag at the top of the pole to warn you of dangerous riptides, there's seaweed. It proves just how high the surf got, and it's a symbol that Panama City Beach will be upright again soon.

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