By DOTTY NIST
Following three public workshops and minor changes to the park layout, the county commission has voted to proceed with the next steps toward a new park on the vacant bayfront property acquired by the county at Bay Grove Road and the west side of U.S. 331, just north of the bay bridge.
The decisions took place at the Feb. 27 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting at the Walton County Courthouse.
Almost 4 1/2 acres, the park has not been named at this time. Plans for the park include picnic tables, bathrooms, parking, and later piers, a playground, and kayak and boat launches. In order to preserve the park’s view corridor to the bay, no canopies or pavilions have been proposed.
The park property contains many large live oak trees, and the BCC has emphasized the importance of preserving as many of those as possible and keeping the property as close to natural as possible.
Next steps for the park approved at the Feb. 27 included authorizing staff to move forward with a land use classification change for the park property from Rural Village to Public Facilities, along with authorization for them to proceed with design and permitting necessary for the park improvements, based on the current park concept plan, and to submit a Walton County development order application for those improvements.
A previous vote by the BCC had authorized staff to move forward with engineering, design and permitting for the “water area and boat ramp.”
Also approved on Feb. 27 was the posting of a sign on the park property to let citizens know that improvements to the property are on the way.