By CHRIS MANSON
Last Thursday, citizen activists and Walton County officials celebrated the designation of CR-30A as a Florida Scenic Highway.
The event was held at Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club where Jon Sewell of the planning and engineering firm Kimley-Horn first met with county officials 12 years ago. “At the time, country roads were not eligible for the program,” he said. “But through good leadership and hard work, we convinced the Legislature to make county roads a part of it.” CR-30A is the first county road in Florida to receive the designation.
Walton County Commissioner Cindy Meadows called it a team effort. “The community came together,” she said. “Probably everybody here worked on it at one point or another.”
“Tonight is a celebration of this important designation,” said Sewell, noting the exposure and financial support for capital projects that were certain to follow. Meadows said the designation would make the area eligible for more grant funding and action plans like implementing signage, safety issues, and aesthetics.
CR-30A supporters contacted Laura Haddock in 1996 when she was the district’s scenic highways coordinator for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). She currently serves as the agency’s environmental documents supervisor.
“Over the years, the individuals have changed, but they kept it going,” said Haddock. “There were slow times with the work effort, but they never gave up because they were truly committed.”
Also on hand was Claire Bannerman, coordinator with the Corridor Advocacy Group (CAG) and a special consultant for the past four years. Haddock referred to Bannerman as “a natural born public relations guru, promotional advocate, and tour guide.” Haddock added that without Kimley-Horn’s assistance, the “complex and tedious” designation process would have taken even longer.
As the event’s master of ceremonies, Sewell credited the hardworking county officials who made the scenic highway designation a reality. “The work doesn’t stop yet, but now the fun begins,” he said. “This is a great way to bring all of the communities of 30A together.”
Bill Freeze, representing the Friends of 30A, presented Meadows with a plaque and flowers in appreciation for her efforts on behalf of the communities of CR-30A.
Later, Meadows and Bannerman sang backing vocals on a song written by Department of Public Works employee Roy Brown. “30A, oh 30A,” Brown warbled as he strummed a guitar. “Riding with my honey and spending my money on 30A.”
NO CEREMONY WOULD BE COMPLETE without a ribbon cutting, as Walton County Commissioner Cindy Meadows does the honors for the newly designated Florida Scenic Highway0A. (Photo by Chris Manson)