Mexico Beach mayor reflects on Michael damage, rebuilding 1 year later

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MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been one year since Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle.

The storm’s destruction is still very evident within the city of Mexico Beach. For every building being rebuilt, it seems as though something else remains in rubble.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told 8 On Your Side 75 percent of his city was destroyed in the storm.

“When you lose 75 percent of your city, a year just won’t give you enough time – when you ride through town, to see enough new construction to make you think that things are happening,” he explained. “So from a business perspective, from a new home construction perspective, it’s going to take a while to see enough of that to make you think that, ‘hey things are happening.’”

Cathey did tell us 40 new building permits have been issued and there are now more property buyers than sellers in Mexico Beach. He said property values are back up to their pre-Michael prices.

But standing in a still-damaged city one year later, Cathey said Mexico Beach drew the “short straw” when it comes to Mother Nature.

“You just don’t mess with mother nature…the bottom line is, if that thing looks like that you’re in its path, you need to pay attention,” he said. “Because Michael proved to me that if you think you can outguess it, you can’t do that. And don’t just take for granted it will go east or west or it will change course. Because, in our case, it didn’t. And Lord forbid, surely we won’t draw the short straw again anytime soon.”

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