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Walton County makes good on promise to buy property for public beach access

Good morning! Let's just get right to it. Walton County has made good on a promise that they would ac
Walton County makes good on promise to buy property for public beach access
By Get The Coast • Issue #6 • View online
Good morning!
Let’s just get right to it. Walton County has made good on a promise that they would acquire land in order to expand and protect public beach accesses after the turmoil that HB 631 brought to the county.
According to the Walton Sun, Walton County Commissioners voted Tuesday to purchase the closed Highlands House bed and breakfast for $3 million so that they can use the property it occupies to create access to nearly 1,000 feet of public beach.
County Commissioner Sara Comander was quoted saying,
“This is a perfect example of something we can make work and make work for everybody.”
While $3 million for a one-acre parcel might seem steep to some, Walton County has made public beach access a priority.
Good for you Walton County…good for you!

Weather: Some clouds this morning will give way to generally sunny skies in the afternoon ☀️. High 52F.
Stat: 4,162 active real estate listings in our MLS (Thanks Ashley Botelho!)
Do: Check out the Destin Chamber’s 6th Annual Bourbon at the Bay tonight from 5:30-8pm. at the Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club.
Watch: Our latest episode of Experience where we toured 2 Birds Coffee + Cafe
In Fort Walton Beach
There’s a new temporary Fort Walton Beach City Councilman and his name is John Holguin.
Temporary FWB City Councilman John Holguin (📸David Schmidt)
Temporary FWB City Councilman John Holguin (📸David Schmidt)
On Tuesday night, Holguin was sworn in and City Councilman David Schmidt snapped a pic 📸and had this to say,
It was an honor to serve with Councilwoman Diane Keller. God called her home and her legacy and footprint on the city of FWB will never be forgotten. While it opened a door for the opportunity to serve with Councilman John Holguin. He comes from an amazing family that values faith, family and community. Excited to see what God has in store for this next chapter of the newest board of FWB City Council. We have been given a huge responsibility to steward during the most prosperous times in FWB history. With property values at a high, an additional $1.6million a year coming from the additional sales tax, WE HAVE TO GET THIS RIGHT.
John Holguin is sworn in as a temporary Fort Walton Beach City Councilman - YouTube
John Holguin is sworn in as a temporary Fort Walton Beach City Councilman - YouTube
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.
A little more Highway 98 news
Panama City Beach
Ok, that’s all I have for you this morning! I hope you enjoy this sunny day.
See ya tomorrow!
Jared Williams
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