By DOTTY NIST
On Jan. 14, officials are set to look at funding for purchase of the Golf Garden property in Miramar Beach. Also to be considered on that date will be future plans for the public dog park in south Walton County.
These items are scheduled for the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Jan. 14 agenda. Set to begin at 4 p.m., the meeting is to take place at the South Walton Annex.
Golf Garden property
On Dec. 10, the BCC had voted not to proceed with plans to purchase the 35 1/2 acre Golf Garden property with Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) funds. The vote had come following a recommendation from the TDC not to proceed.
A feasibility study performed by the Hunden Group had examined the potential use of the property as a public sports and entertainment facility, yielding negative conclusions with regard to the location. A report prepared by John Kenney and Ann Marie Moore on behalf of the South Walton Community Council (SWCC) was critical of the study and provided alternative calculations. The SWCC has taken a position in favor of the county purchasing the property for the public as an investment in the future of Miramar Beach.
Together with the Dec. 10 vote not to proceed, the BCC had voted to delay the previously-scheduled real estate closing on the property until Jan 17. Then, after additional discussion, the officials had voted to direct Larry Jones, county administrator, to pursue other funding sources for acquisition of the property, which is to cost $11.75 million. Per discussion, sources may include preservation funds and possibly partial funding by the TDC.
South Walton County dog park
Also to be considered at the Jan. 14 meeting will be the public dog park on J.D. Miller Road that is currently known as Alaqua Unleashed. The dog park had been established on county-owned property in 2002 through a partnership between the county and the community-based nonprofit Bark Park, Inc.
The dog park has been under operation by Alaqua Animal Refuge for the past decade. In October, Alaqua provided a six-months’ notice to Walton County of their desire to terminate the contract for operation of the dog park.
Options for the county to continue operation of the dog park will be presented at the Jan. 14 meeting.