'A bright future': Mayor Sam Seevers celebrates the past, looks to future at State of City Address

Matt Algarin
When it comes to the State of the City Address, Mayor Sam Seevers relishes the opportunity to brag about the city she loves.

When Mayor Sam Seevers has an opportunity to brag about the city of Destin, she never shies away, and Tuesday night's State of the City Address was that platform.

"I am so happy to present some of the successes and the accomplishments we've done over the past year," she told the crowd of about 100 residents.

As part of the city's charter, which governs the way the city is operated, the mayor must give a State of the City Address on an annual basis, and 2013 provided plenty to talk about.

From renovations at Destin Library to revamping the Adopt-A-Street program, updating the East Pass Inlet Management Plan and adding an additional 147 parking spaces with the completion of the Marler Street parking lot, Seevers said the city staff was busy.

Some of the key accomplishments from 2013 included the restoration of a 1.1 mile stretch of beach along Holiday Isle, which added more than 600,000 cubic yards of sand to the critically eroded beaches.

The city's parks and recreation department saw a dramatic increase in its "sports tourism" program, which saw them add 10 more events to their schedule from 2012 to 2013. One of the highlights was a Little League tournament that Seevers said brought more than 2,000 people to the city.

"These types of events are putting Destin on the map," she said.

As she looked to the future, Seevers spoke about Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park, which is sandwiched between Dewey Destin's Harborside and the Fisherman's Wharf restaurants. She said the city has an opportunity to do something "really, really great" with the harborfront park.

"This amazing park will serve as the gateway to the Destin harbor and our boardwalk," Seevers told the crowd. "It will be a focal point and a gathering place along our harbor for festivals, fishing tournaments, community events and so much more."

Without a doubt though, the crowning achievement of 2013 was securing a $10.2 million grant for the stabilization of Norriego Point through an "extremely competitive" process.

"The permanent restoration of Norriego Point will be one of the most important accomplishments the city of Destin will embark upon in the past 30 years," she said. "To fund a $10 million project one hundred percent through grant funding was always beyond the realm of possibility. For this to happen is truly a Godsend for our city and our region."

Looking back at everything the city was able to accomplish, Seevers said success stories like these don't happen without all parties coming together for the greater good of a city.

"The best part of our city is the outstanding citizens who reside here," she said. "We will be successful in our great city if we plan for the future, but we continue to focus and truly remember what the blessings of our great community are."

"Destin has such a bright future ahead of us, because we have such an amazing and solid foundation on which to stand," she added.