Interviewee: Sherrie Miller

Role: Vice–Chairman of the Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership

Date of Interview: January 28, 2015

Collection: Preserving the Working Waterfront

Click on the link below to view the interview.

Sherrie Miller Interview

Abstract: Sherrie Miller, Vice–Chairman of the Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership, was interviewed to document Panacea, Florida's experience as a designated Waterfronts Florida Partnership Community. The Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program was created by the Florida Coastal Management Program in 1997 to address the physical and economic decline of traditional working waterfront areas. Designated communities received technical assistance to develop and implement community visioning plans to revitalize and preserve working waterfronts. Ms. Miller discusses Panacea's history as a tourist destination, its efforts to develop the Panacea 2020 Visioning Plan and several activities that resulted from the Plan (e.g. a waterfront overlay zone, boat–building classes).

Transcript: My family, my mom and dad both were born and raised; my mother was born and raised here in Panacea. I'm a fourth generation on her side and her family was always involved in the seafood industry. My family owns a restaurant, Posey's Restaurant, and we also do catering and I'm also a member of the Panacea Waterfront's Florida Partnership.

The waterfront is where most people that live here make their livings from whether it be oystering, crabbing, or shrimping, or mullet fishing. Since regulations and the deplenishment of the seafood in the area, a lot of people have had to go into other you know occupations and crabbing from crabbing and oystering and shrimping and all and do construction or other businesses.

And through the Waterfronts Florida Program I think that was formed in 2001, it has kind of helped to bring back tradition and trying to revitalize–has been the goal–main goal of the Waterfronts is to revitalize this area. We had to go set visionings; it's the Panacea 2020 Visioning Plan and we had community meetings where people had input. We–you know talked about things we would like to see happen here. One of the things in our visioning plan was a welcome center in which we worked with the county to get a welcome center here in Panacea and different things revitalized like sidewalks and lighting and the Mineral Springs restored and just bringing back the heritage of the community was the main goal of that.

But one of the projects they started was a boat-building class. And one of our members, Larry Tucker is a–he was a commercial fisherman, a charter fishing captain, and he also–his family–father and grandfather built boats. So the Panacea Waterfronts has–him and Roger Pinholster, the guy that heads up the program, teach boat–building classes. So the Panacea Waterfronts sponsors those; it's the Larry Tucker Scholarship Fund for boat–building. This will be our second year. We pick kids from Panacea and like I said, it was unreal when we did it. The community came together. We had the Sea Tow guy gave us life jackets. Crum's gave us the tools for the kids to have. Every restaurant kicked in and paid for lunches every day so the kids didn't have to worry about that. We had people that went down and volunteered to help with the class. And so they ended up with a finished boat which one of the kids in the class, parents ended up buying but it's a real good, you know–it was something they made and then they got to put it in the water and made sure it floated. And so we're in the process now of we're going to do our second one in June when school gets out. So that's a good project that we're, you know, we're proud of because that's the heritage of a lot of people here building boats.

It's just been very beneficial and you know the networking and the support we get from the State agencies is really good.

This collection is part of an effort to document oral histories that focus on the application of specific tools for sustaining working waterfronts across the country. To learn more about the Preserving the Working Waterfront Oral History project, click here.