Speaking of City Council members…
Last night Councilman Nic Allegretto took to Facebook to offer some additional insight on the Gulfview Hotel after the Northwest Florida Daily News published some pics on the progress of the historic building.
Here’s what he said,
It’s coming along.
As I’ve said before (possibly one billion times), my job as a City Councilman is to represent the views of the residents of the city. And it was very important to the residents of the city that reached out to me that our city’s history be preserved. This is the oldest building in the city of Fort Walton Beach and it was donated (free) to the city.
The last historic building in our city (Summerhouse) that we didn’t step in on and allowed private industry to own and maintain is currently sitting (abandoned and derelict) on the side of Highway 98 in Navarre next to a closed strip club.
The moving and renovations have cost a lot. Is that money that could’ve been used elsewhere? Sure. I understand those objections. They’re not wrong. But the objections of the few do not outweigh the will of the many. That’s democracy. And that’s the job I was elected to do.
The building will eventually repay those costs from leasing the office space (around $50K per year).
This project is the definition of a long-term view.
Our downtown will look VERY different in 10 years with the new improvements to the landing (2019), the new Brooks Bridge (2022) and the “around the mound” traffic pattern (TBD but now in the FDOT 5 year plan). Moving, renovating and preserving this building and placing it at the entrance to the new downtown FWB ensures that we always keep a large and beautiful representation of the way things used to be.
Listen, I know the Hotel doesn’t look the best right now. The roof has had moss growing on it, the construction fence around the building isn’t pretty and it look out of place to those of us who have lived here for some time now.
But it won’t look like this forever.
That hotel will be the first thing you pass when entering the new Downtown (Core) District as Highway 98 is routed around the mound and onto the new bridge.
The City is making great progress toward a better Downtown.