The Walton County Commissioner’s meeting started with good news from FDOT District Three Secretary Tommy Barfield. Walton paid for $75 million of the new bridge, but a reduction in price dropped the amount Walton had to contribute. Barfield presented the remaining funds not needed to the commissioners. With this, the half cent sales tax can also come off. Barfield said the estimated time of completion is August 2017, but permitting issues have put them behind. There is a hope the contractor will make up time. The sturgeon fish cause some delay in driving the piles. There is a three month window for the fish’s breeding season. Commissioner Sara Comander thanked Barfield, saying it was his help recovering the funds for Walton. Barfield cited the partnership of everyone and said Walton and the FDOT showed how to get things done. He said, if the county is willing, he will be back. Commissioner Cecilia Jones noted the advance in evacuation time the new bridge will bring.
Commissioners approved the Preliminary Master Plan Design for the South Walton Sports Complex as Submitted by Lose & Associates. Staff said there is no major changes and the release is the master plan so far. Additional features could be added or taken out. This came after several public meetings to allow citizen input.
Remember the property near Wee Care park someone wants to sell. Walton Administrator Larry Jones talked about the possible purchase, calling it a way to advance the park’s features and said they would work with the city for a possible move of the park items at the Sports Complex off Gene Hurley Road. Commissioner Comander said she wants to know definitely what they would use it for. Jones, agreed, saying he would sit down with the city and see how they want to partner. The possibility of purchasing the 44 acres continues.
With a parcell called the Angelo’s Property being offered for sale, TDC staff presented three possible uses. One was a small parking area, the second was a larger parking area and the third was parking with two picnic pavilions. The appraisals are between $4m to $5m for the land. The cost for the features is from $200,000 to around $400,000. Commissioner Cindy Meadows said she thinks the county should try to purchase the property due to the use without interfering with the dunes. The commissioners approved moving the process forward.