Gateway to Crystal Beach

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By Catherine Card, City of Destin

Catherine CardThe “Gateway to Crystal Beach” is now on its way to becoming a reality thanks to the partnership between the City of Destin, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and Trust for Public Land. The City of Destin has pledged $9,000,000 and Okaloosa County $13,000,000 for potential beach acquisitions to expand beach access in Destin for residents and visitors. The Trust for Public Land, which the City of Destin has partnered with to aide in the process, has been negotiating with three properties adjacent to the Shore of Crystal Beach Park. All three are under an option/purchase agreement with the Trust for Public Land. The combined cost of these acquisitions is $10.6 Million plus some ancillary closing costs which are (estimated under $50,000). Funding for the initial set of acquisitions is proposed to be funded with the following ratio — 59% County (TDC) ($6.28+ Million) and 41% City ($4.37- Million), based on the dollars pledged by the city and the county. Completion of the project is anticipated for 2021.

Acquiring public beach is the Destin City Council’s top priority in the city’s 2020 strategic plan. “Many of us who grew up here know that over the last two decades, we have not seen the beach when driving down old Highway 98,”said Councilman Parker Destin. “This will be the first time that you can see the beach, in an old Destin fashion, in decades.”
For additional information on the public beach initiative for Crystal Beach please visit: www.cityofdestin.com/285/Projects.