City moves forward with scaled back design for harbor park (RENDERINGS)

Matt Algarin
Renderings from Tetra Tech show what the city's Royal Melvin Heritage Park could look like once improvements are made.

Plans for the city's harborfront Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park have been scaled back once again.

"In a nutshell, we were tasked with revising the conceptual design," Tetra Tech's Michael Bomar told city leaders during Monday night's City Council meeting.

The new conceptual plan for the park, which is situated between Dewey Destin's on the harbor and the Fisherman's Wharf, would cost the city between $1 million and $1.3 million depending on phasing options and final approved features. The conceptual design also gives the city flexibility as they can implement water features and such if more funding becomes available.

Bomar told city leaders that subsequent revisions have been made after meeting with the council, members of the public and stakeholders.

At the park’s entryway along Harbor Boulevard there will be a compass rose design that Bomar said could ideally feature the names of the city's founding families. At the southern portion of the park there will be an open "festive area" where people can gather.

"Throughout the park, we have different opportunities to celebrate Destin, its heritage and the founding families," Bomar said. "That can be determined as you go through the design element."

After looking through the park's design, Councilman Tuffy Dixon was unsure about spending a great deal of money on "this small of a park."

Dixon has been outspoken on the project's cost in the past, telling his colleagues that he doesn't want to see the city spending large sums of money on a project like this when they could do a lot of the work in-house.

"I'll never vote for it," he said during a past meeting on the park.

The parcel was purchased in 2006 with the help of a $2.3 million Florida Forever grant. The City Council took out a $3.45 million loan in 2006 to buy the land. The total purchase price was $4.6 million. The park's original design took place in 2007, was altered in 2009 and has now changed again.

Keeping to his prior statement, Dixon was the lone councilman to vote against the updated park plan. A motion to approve the updated concept plan, as well as $123,900 for final design work passed 6-1.