Acquiring beach property tops list of accomplishments for 2020 in Destin

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Although 2020 has been a year many will not forget because of the COVID-19 pandemic that swept across the country, the city of Destin has several accomplishments to remember.

Some of the city's accomplishments are highly visible, such as the dredging of East Pass to make it more navigable for the fishing fleet as well as the Coast Guard, pumping the sand out to renourish the beach along Holiday Isle and completing Capt. Leonard Destin Park on Calhoun Avenue.

More:East Pass dredging is a ‘win, win’ (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

More:Capt. Leonard Destin Park to be ‘jewel’ of parks

One major accomplishment that's not yet visible is the city's acquisition of beachfront property.

"Being able to acquire some additional beach property was huge," Destin City Manager Lance Johnson said.

The city purchased property on each side of the Shores at Crystal Beach Park, which will clear a way for beachgoers.

More:Destin Council moves ahead with possible beach land buys

"Our residents are looking for a place to go to the beach and our visitors, too," said Johnson, who noted that Destin doesn't have a lot of public beach area.

Once everything goes through, Johnson said, "We will be able to drive down there and see the Gulf of Mexico again ... which we haven't in a long time."

"And I've got to give credit to the council; they backed the idea 100 percent," he added.

Here's a list of the city's top accomplishments for 2020, compiled by Johnson: 

Capt. Leonard Destin Park is located off Calhoun Avenue in Destin and overlooks the Choctawhatchee Bay.
  • Acquisition of additional public beach for residents and visitors
  • 90% complete design finished on the COMPASS system (COMmunity Permitting And Support System).
  • Alignment of the Comp Plan and the Zoning Map
  • Improved compliance with city regulations through a proactive Code Compliance Department
  • Ability to maintain services throughout COVID thanks to IT, all departments and a dedicated staff
  • Dredging of East Pass and almost 200,000 cubic yards of emergency sand placement on Holiday Isle beaches. 
  • Referendum passed by citizens to limit building height limits to six stories.
  • Opening of Leonard Destin Park
Most of the sand from the East Pass dredging project was pumped onto the beach near the Jetty East Condominiums (left) on the western end of Holiday Isle. It was among Destin's top accomplishments in 2020.

And with every new year comes a list of goals to work toward.

Topping the list of goals for 2021 for Destin, according to Johnson, are:

  • Host a public strategic visioning session in January for the Destin City Council to establish organizational priorities for the 2021 strategic plan
  • Acquire additional public beach property for residents and visitors
  • Public launch of the COMPASS system (COMmunity Permitting And Support System)
  • Complete construction of Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park
  • Complete renovations at Clement Taylor Park
  • Complete phase 3 improvements at Norriego Point Park
  • Alignment of the LDC and the Comp Plan