By REID TUCKER
Paxton’s onetime annual Heritage Day Festival may make its return in coming months if the Town Council votes to work out a deal with the local Masonic Lodge.
The Town Council members on March 18 voted to draw up an agreement between the city and the lodge in which the latter party will be granted its request to use the city’s recently acquired property north of Town Hall for the annual festival. However, included in the agreement will be the provision that the Heritage Festival will have to relocate if a retail business decides to set up shop in Paxton on the property, which was purchased by the city for the purpose of attracting a grocery store or other business. Councilman Travis McMillian, a member of the local lodge, said he and the other Masons were willing to make that concession if it meant they could bring back the Heritage Festival, long a major yearly event in Paxton.
The board will vote on the finalized agreement at next month’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Mayor Hayward Thomas informed the Council members that he had authorized the Panhandle branch of the Florida Department of Children and Families to put in a computer at Town Hall. The local organization has promised to provide volunteer assistance by appointment to any Paxton resident requiring help in applying online for unemployment assistance or food stamps. The service and the computer equipment were provided at no cost to the city.
Wrapping up the brief meeting was a message from a Walton County Sheriff’s Office representative, with the focus being to raise awareness for the joint WCSO-Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers’ “Hide/Lock/Take” program. The program advises residents to hide valuables, lock their doors and take their keys with them when leaving their vehicle parked in public. Deputies responding to calls of suspicious activity may fill out a placard reviewing the security of a vehicle.
By REID TUCKER