County holds public meeting on Parks & Recreation in north and south Walton

MASTER PLAN of Helen McCall Park site expansion Phase 1.

SOUTH WALTON

By TRISH DAY 

On Wednesday evening, Jan. 5, Walton County Commissioner Danny Glidewell held a public meeting on the subject of Parks and Recreation at the Coastal Branch Library. The meeting was well attended by area residents brimming with ideas of what the county needs.

From Little League parents to senior citizens, Glidewell listened and took note of the desires of constituents.

There are many upcoming projects in the pipeline: from turning Helen McCall Park into a brand new sports complex to building out the newer sports complex behind Dune Lakes Elementary School.

The county purchased additional land to the west of Helen McCall Park. This will allow an expansion that will include new multi-use fields, batting cages, storage area, restrooms, office, press box, a new concession stand and parking expansion. The fields will also include LED lighting that is cell powered.

The sports complex at Dune Lakes will include pickleball courts, multi-use fields for football, soccer and lacrosse, t-ball fields, lighting and fencing.

Among the list of wants: a public swimming facility, a new senior center, and an indoor multi-purpose facility to include basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and swimming.

Glidewell said he would like to see a tournament sized sports complex in the north end of the county to increase visitors and boost the economy in DeFuniak Springs. Building one in south Walton could prove difficult, as a large land purchase of at least 50 acres would be required.

The commissioners have toured all existing area playgrounds and hired two inspectors to check area parks and playgrounds for safety, turf, etc. “The last thing I ever want is a child hurt,” Glidewell said. His team pledged to ensure playgrounds and parks are safe and turf is upgraded as needed.

Any citizen of the county who has ideas or concerns to share can email the Director of Parks and Recreation, Shane Supple at supshane@co.walton.fl.us

NORTH WALTON

By TRISH DAY 

On Thursday evening, Jan. 6, the county held a second public workshop to discuss Parks and Recreation, this time in the northern end of the Walton County.

The meeting at the Eagle Springs Clubhouse was well attended by residents interested in the proposed improvements to area parks. The main items presented included the following: 

The county will be building restrooms at Wee Care Park and is looking at adding lights.

There is a proposed North Walton Sports Complex in the planning stage that will consist of 10 multi-purpose fields, a T-ball field, batting cages, press boxes and concession stands. The area being considered is south of West DeFuniak Elementary School.

Talks are also underway on building an Equestrian Arena for rodeos and horse events, tentatively on U.S. 90 West.

Other items mentioned included requests for swimming facilities and an indoor sports arena for volleyball and basketball.