Out of the 19 projects in the running for Restore Act funds, the city of Destin has two projects on the list.
"We were ecstatic to be included on this final list," said Lindy Chabot, the city's grants and projects manager.
Both the restoration of Clement Taylor Park and construction of Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park scored in the top four of all projects submitted. If approved by county commissioners, the city should see about $2 million in funding.
Clement Taylor Park renovations would include demolition of the existing restrooms, which are more than 30 years old; demolition of the existing playground to replace it with an American's With Disabilities (ADA) compliant playground; a re-configuration of the existing parking area; renovations to the fishing dock; addition of a kayak launch; and additional environmental signage, just to name a few.
"The overall redevelopment will serve as a catalyst for visitors to spend more time leisurely exploring and enjoying the harbor district's diverse offerings and will be a significant addition to our area's economic vitality," a portion of the project summary reads.
Given the natural beauty of Clement Taylor Park, Chabot said the city's goal is not to over-develop the bay front park, but to enhance what's already there.
"A lot of the equipment is decades old, so we just want to bring it up to snuff," she said.
As for Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park, the funding would allow for the complete construction of the harbor front park, which would become the "Gateway to the harbor."
In addition to landscaping and aesthetic improvements, Chabot told The Log the land the park sits on, situated between Brotula's and Dewey Destin's on the harbor, would become more of a gentle slope, creating a view corridor so people driving by could see the harbor.
"It will make people want to stop," she said. "It will really add to the whole Harbor District."
Conceptual designs for Royal Melvin Heritage Park date back to 2006. Currently, 60 percent design plans exist for the upgrades and just a few "tweaks" remain.
Other projects on the list include waterfront improvements at the Fort Walton Beach landing, a workforce development program at Choctawhatchee High School, an economic revitalization of Niceville's "Old Downtown," and construction of a snorkel/dive reef.
And while Chabot said she'd love to see Destin's projects funded, any of the proposed projects would benefit the county as a whole.
The next step is for county commissioners to review the projects put forth by the Okaloosa County Restore Act Council, which will more than likely take place in August.
"I am very pleased with the overall quality and diversity of the recently released ORAC funding recommendations," Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles told The Log. "The commission must still do our due diligence in reviewing those recommendations but I expect the good work completed by the ORAC will be looked upon very favorably."
Once the final projects are approved, the public will have a 45-day comment period to share their thoughts before a final application is submitted to the Federal Treasury, Chabot said.
"I think they'll (citizens) see that this will be money well spent," Chabot said of the final projects.