2017 to be big year for city parks

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie |
This is an aerial view of the old concrete plant the city purchased in December for $2 million. After the concrete and gravel is removed, the city will begin developing a master plan for the park. KANNON GOODMAN/SPECIAL TO THE LOG

The city of Destin is preparing for a slew of park projects to see major developments in 2017.

The city will move forward with several initiatives concerning Leonard Destin Park, the park at Norriego Point and the park at the old concrete plant on Beach Drive, according to Parks and Recreation Director Lance Johnson and Public Services Director David Campbell.

The Trust for Public Land has purchased the 3-acre parcel at 101 Calhoun Avenue that will eventually become Leonard Destin Park. The Trust for Public Land will develop the park and then donate it to the city, along with operating and maintenance funds totaling more than $900,000.

“We just received the 90 percent drawings from the Trust for Public Land,” Johnson said. “That’s good and that’s usually the point that triggers the permitting process and those sorts of things.”

He added that the park will have a public beach access, the city’s first splash pad, picnic pavilions and a model of the seine boat like the one Leonard Destin captained.

Plans for the park at Norriego Point were unveiled in November and will include boardwalks, swimming embankments and accessible restrooms. Campbell said the park will not begin construction until necessary dredging is completed, which will likely take all of 2017.

“The park design is still in progress, and the schedule for that is going to be to complete the park design this year, and put it out to bid next year in 2018,” he said.

The park that will be built at the old concrete plant has officially been named Joe’s Bayou Recreation Area, according to Johnson.

“This is the missing piece of the pie that we needed to make the big recreation area that our forefathers — somewhere back in the early ‘90s — dreamt about,” he said.

In December 2016, the city submitted a grant application for approximately $4.5 million to develop a master plan for the park. Before moving forward with park development, however, the mounds of gravel and concrete must first be cleared out. The city has submitted a request for proposals for companies to come and clear out the cement.

“Depending on the condition, they’re going to rough grade the site, level all the dirt out,” Campbell said. “And then the city is going to be looking into designing the area for a park.”