After two years of waiting, the city of Destin could be getting another waterfront park.
In October 2016, the city bought a 3.9-acre parcel at 820 Beach Drive, which was formerly the site of the CEMEX cement plant. The site is located in between the Joe’s Bayou boat launch ramp and a beach with a pier. The acquisition of the cement plant lot created approximately 1,600 feet of contiguous city-owned shoreline between the three waterfront parcels.
In December of that same year, officials applied for a roughly $4.5 million grant from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment program, which was created in the wake of the BP oil spill and is overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In April of last year, the city paid Freepport-based RBM Contracting Services LLC $50,000 to remove more than 5,000 tons of concrete and about 2,500 tons of stone from the property.
In 2013, the city received a $10.2-million grant from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment program to stabilize and add amenities to Norriego Point.
According to an email from Destin Information Technology Director Webb Warren, the funds from the latest grant application would incorporate the cement plant parcel into the Joe’s Bayou Recreational Area, as well as enhance the existing park and boat ramp facilities.
In a previous article, former Destin Public Information Manager Doug Rainer said that most of the new park property will likely serve as a passive or low-intensity recreation area, possibly featuring walking trails, fishing areas and a kayak launch.
But Hurricane Michael impacted the NRDA Trustees' schedule for finalizing the restoration plan, in which Joe’s Bayou was a preferred project, Warren said. The period for public comment was supposed to end Oct. 26 of this year, but the NRDA Trustees have extended the deadline to the end of December.
The city expects the NRDA Trustees to finalize the plan in February or March of 2019, Warren said.