Spirits were high at the State of the City Address Thursday night as Mayor Sam Seevers pointed out the achievements Destin accomplished in the past year.
"We are so blessed to have an amazing city council," Seevers said. "...We cannot do what we do without community partners."
This year, Seevers said, the city of Destin did not suffer one bit despite budget constraints. Instead, the city only improved through additions such as a new pavilion at Morgan Sports Center, 2,000 new items at the local library, 4,000-feet of sidewalk repair and the new boardwalk along the Destin harbor.
"Destin knows how to stretch a dollar," Seevers said.
Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the dog park, which won two awards—the Florida City and County Management Association Award for Program Excellence and the Northwest Florida League of Cities Community of Excellence Award.
"It's such a huge success," said Destin resident, Andrea Ansley.
The community was also active in helping to better Destin. As part of the night's festivities, Seevers shared photos of volunteers planting sea oats at Norriego Point. More than 100 volunteers helped plant more than 30,000 sea oats.
"There were 22 organizations and individuals donating money and resources," Seevers said.
Technology played a part in the city's success, as well.
The city began implementing the use of iPads and introduced a new website. The site features a "Notify Me" tab that allows residents to receive instant alerts, a City Help Desk for users to submit questions and complaints and an online database for public records, which freed up some city staffer's time.
"We decreased those requests by 40 percent," Seevers said.
The city saw two visits from Governor Rick Scott. On one visit, he even won a friendly fishing tournament against Texas Governor Rick Perry. Seevers couldn't help but boast about "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village."
Seevers was also proud to talk about the Blue Ribbon Panel, a group of experts that was tasked with streamlining the city's development review process.
"It's the perfect example of the bottom-up approach," she said.
Seevers made note to thank everyone and anyone that has played a part in the city. She mentioned that the local officials are the ones to receive the accolades, but stressed there were so many hard workers behind the scenes.
"We stand on the shoulders of some phenomenal people," she said.
The speech was well-received, as the mayor was treated to a standing ovation by the capacity crowd. Seevers noted it was the biggest she had seen.
"She's terrific," said Caroline Miller of Seevers. "She's always talking about Destin. She's a very good representative to the city—an advocate."
When it comes to the next 365 days, residents are ready to see future plans come to fruition.
"Stabilizing Norriego Point will be very beneficial to the harbor," said Annette Riedeman. "It's very vulnerable to storms."
Whatever comes her way in 2013, Seevers said she is prepared to do whatever it takes to make a meaningful impact on Destin.
"Everything with my time, I always ask 'Is it going to make a difference?' " she said. "The same goes for Destin. As we look back and ask 'Did we make a difference?' I would say we did. There's a lot of challenges ahead. I look forward to walking down that path with each and everyone of you."