Vizard: A crisis for South Walton businesses this Labor Day Weekend (Photos)
Labor day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year in on the beaches Northwest Florida. But not this year for areas of South Walton County. The recent rains washed out a large section of the roadway on Scenic Hwy. 30A at Redfish Village due to what amounts to have been an uncleared beaver dam.
Local businesses are seeing a drastic reduction in traffic, which is greatly affecting sales, and may lead to the loss of over 100 jobs, according to some business owners. And now comes word that Walton County has decided to build a bridge, an estimated $250,000 project that may not be completed by the start of spring break 2014.
The signage to and from the closed road sections are also a bone of contention. They do not explain any detour for tourists causing them to turn around, but they have no alternative marked route. The Walton County Tourist Development Council is spending many dollars on advertising and promotions to get people to visit the area, who are now angry at the way the closure is being handled.
“I am very angry at the situation and the lack of responses other than Cindy Meadows office that I have received, said Kelly Klein, a Realtor. “I just counted 44 cars that turned around in front of my balcony area because of the sign that reads ‘road under water’.”
Tourists are also confused.
Clint Brown, from Chattanooga, Tenn.. said "Our family was taking the scenic route to Seaside and Alys Beach, but we had no clue which way to go after the turn-around. Thankfully a local resident helped us out. It’s a sad situation they need to fix it soon".
All local and state agencies need to come together on this immediately for a temporary and long-term solution to this road closure. County Highway 30A was designated a Florida State Scenic Highway in 2008.
A website has been formed at www.30abridge.com to highlight this issue. There is also an online petition for supporters.
A press conference is planned for 10 a.m. Monday at County Road 30A and County Road 83 at Redfish Village with invites going out to the press, local officials, and state representatives.
Paul Vizard is CEO and founder of 30a Media, which produces 30a TV.