DESTIN — Nestled in the heart of the city is a short road to nowhere.
It’s bordered by woods, the Destin Executive Airport, Indian Bayou Golf & Country Club and other businesses, as well as the city’s public works facility and the Morgan Sports Complex.
Just east of Airport Road, the partially paved road is part of the 264-acre golf course. The road’s old pavement runs between busy Commons Drive and the portion of Indian Bayou Trail that’s just north of the Destin City Hall Annex.
While life churns on around it, few vehicles have driven on the mysterious-looking road for about the past decade.
And local officials indicate that scenario is unlikely to change anytime soon.
A wooden fence prevents drivers from accessing the road from Commons Drive, while an earthen berm bars entry from the north.
“It’s kind of deserted,” City Councilman Cyron Marler said. “Many moons ago, kids with four-wheel drives would go back there and party.”
The abandoned road was the city’s original Indian Bayou Trail. It was the main entrance to the Indian Bayou neighborhood when the subdivision was developed in the late 1970s, said Larry Szczur, president of the Indian Bayou Homeowners Association.
“It was the place to be, long before anything else was developed out here,” Szczur said of the neighborhood.
Marler is the only existing council member who served on the council in 2007. That’s when it agreed to move forward with a plan to obtain right of way from the golf club to extend Commons Drive west to Airport Road.
The plan included closing the original Indian Bayou Trail and installing a traffic light at Commons Drive and Airport Road.
Back then, the portion of today’s Indian Bayou Trail that runs from U.S. Highway 98 north past the annex was known as Two Trees Road.
Destin officials agreed at the time that the best way into the Indian Bayou neighborhood would be Two Trees Road because it was farther away from the Airport Road/Commons Drive intersection. The extension of Commons Drive was completed in 2009.
Marler said the Indian Bayou neighborhood originally was a gated community. After the city was incorporated in 1984, Indian Bayou's streets were turned over to the city to maintain, he said.
“Supposedly, when we got the right of way for the (the extension of Commons Drive) and the roundabout, (the original Indian Bayou Trail) reverted back to the golf club,” Marler said. “The city won’t do anything with it.”
Jim Carpenter, manager of the Indian Bayou Golf Course, said he couldn’t speak for the golf club’s owners and did not know what will happen to the old road.
Szczur said the HOA is not part of the ownership of the old road. He added that he doesn’t think the golf club or the city will ever try to reopen the original Indian Bayou Trail.
“They would never reopen it because it intersects almost where the new Commons Drive intersects with the traffic light at Airport Road,” Szczur said. “And it’s about 5 feet lower than Commons Drive.”
Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell, who lives in the Indian Bayou neighborhood, sees the abandoned road daily.
“I wish they would do something with it instead of leaving it as this partially-paved, blocked-off road,” she said.