Destin Kiwanis Club aims to improve Clement Taylor Park

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
The city of Destin is currently seeking a grant to upgrade the park's amenities and enhance its environmental integrity to increase public use and appreciation for this area's natural beauty. Current infrastructure is now 15- 30 years old.

Clement E. Taylor Park along the Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin, Florida, was once the location of the Destin one-room schoolhouse, used until the 1950’s. After the school building was deserted and demolished, the area was used and designated as a park. 

The Destin Kiwanis Club and Destin Women’s Club contributed to the park early on through master planning and raising funds to build the initial pavilions and children’s playground. Accessible by foot, bike, and car, it is the city’s most popular and utilized park.  More and more visitors are discovering this hidden "jewel" as it abuts the edge of Destin's Historic Harbor District and parking areas for the Harbor Boardwalk. 

The city of Destin is currently seeking a grant to upgrade the park's amenities and enhance its environmental integrity to increase public use and appreciation for this area's natural beauty. Current infrastructure is now 15- 30 years old. Needed improvements include demolition of the restrooms to be replaced with a new bathroom facility and picnic pavilion; renovation of the fishing dock, seawall and swimming area; reconfiguration of the non-impervious parking area for more capacity; and demolition of the existing playground to be rebuilt for ADA compliance with safety surfacing. 

A major component of the park’s new design is adding playground equipment for all children and age groups, including those with features compatible for special needs children. A matching $25,000 grant from the Kiwanis Club for playground equipment would not only be a wonderful addition for the many children who play at the park, but be extremely advantageous for the City’s competiveness for the larger grant award as well.

Covered with large shade trees of oak and magnolia, carpeted with grass, and fed by bay breezes, the park is a cool retreat for families to play and picnic even on the hottest of summer days. This park is also the site for numerous weddings and reunions each year. Typical wildlife, such as squirrels and birds, abound. The park’s habitat is also home to less observable creatures such as the red fox and the hermit crab. 

First-quality public parks, water access, and open space are integral to enhancing the quality of life of our seaside town.

To cast your vote, go to https://www.facebook.com/kiwanis?v=app_448952861833126&rest=1. Voting ends June 1.