Housing, Panama City, Florida, housing projects, projects, affordable housing

Panama City Unveils New Affordable Housing Complex

Panama City, Florida, held its grand opening for a new affordable housing complex, The Park at Massalina, on July 27. The area is being rebuilt following the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael in 2018. The nine-day disaster left the area in ruins. Now, it is the grounds of a modern housing project offering units at affordable rates, WJHG reports

When the project was first proposed, affordable housing was not at the forefront of the city leaders’ minds. Still, the housing complex came to fruition with the determination of people like Teri Henry, who is the executive director of Panama City Housing Authority. “There is a lot of love that went into this project,” she told WJHG. “And everyone deserves a beautiful, safe modern home. This community will not only have nice modern units and efficient appliances. It also has a playground, a community garden, a dog park, a community center, as well as a business center that everyone can use.”

The housing complex’s mission is two-fold, however. While it is designed to help those affected by the increased cost of living, it also commemorates a piece of little-known history about the area. The word “Park” is derived from the name of a Black-owned baseball field that belonged to the Panama City Blue Sox in the 1940s and 50s before desegregation. “Massalina” refers to Jose Masslieno, who was the first to live at Red Fish Point along with his son, Hawk. 

Lyn Masslieno, the great-grandson of Hawk, spoke about what this housing project means. “Thanks to Hurricane Michael, affordable living places were destroyed. But to have that opportunity to bring it back here to Panama City and give people clean, safe, affordable homes, nice place to live. That is one of the pluses that we are proud of to be able to impact families as well.”

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