Fort Walton Landing update: City still waits for permit from federal government

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News

FORT WALTON BEACH — The storm-damaged boardwalk at the city-owned Landing has just been removed, but officials still are waiting for a permit to be approved by the federal government so they can work on other upgrades to the park along the Santa Rosa Sound.

More (Nov. 2019):Fort Walton Landing gazebo comes down

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The boardwalk at Fort Walton Landing Park, which was damaged during Hurricane Sally, was removed last Tuesday. The city is renovating the popular downtown park to include a new boardwalk and stage.

“The boardwalk removal is part of the park renovation project, but it was expedited because of damages from Hurricane Sally” last September, Fort Walton Beach spokesman Doug Rainer said Thursday. “The actual renovation project can’t begin until final permits are issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. We recently asked for an update/timeline from the ACOE and the answer was ‘We don’t have an update. It is still in cultural review.’ ”

Fort Walton Beach wants to renovate Fort Walton Beach Landing downtown, but is waiting for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More (Sept. 2019 story):Fort Walton Landing makeover is underway (PHOTOS)

The 6-acre Fort Walton Beach Landing is at 139 Brooks St. S.E. The city oversaw an archaeological survey of the property in the past year or so.

Fort Walton Beach plans to spend more than $5 million to upgrade Fort Walton Beach Landing downtown.

In addition to a new boardwalk, plans for the more than $5 million renovation project include a new sea wall, new performance stage, a splash pad, new restrooms and more parking. Also planned is a beach area for launching kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, space for food trucks and the removal of the park’s little-used boat ramp.

Hurricane Sally damaged the boardwalk at Fort Walton Beach Landing last September. The city is waiting for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue a major upgrade to the downtown park.

Demolition of the 5,950-square-foot former Venture Hive building in order to provide more parking at the park was completed in September 2019. Shortly afterward, the park’s dilapidated gazebo and several dead trees were removed. A new playground was installed last fall.

Fort Walton Beach is using federal, state and local funds for the overall renovation project.