TDC Continues to Add Beachfront, Parking in South Walton
With $3.2 million in destination improvements completed in South Walton during 2018-19, to say the TDC’s beach operations department is keeping busy is an understatement.
In addition to the upkeep and maintenance of 20 miles of beach, 36 miles of public road and highway right of way, eight regional beach accesses, 44 neighborhood beach accesses and eight bay and lake accesses, there are plenty of ongoing projects in the works.
Multi-Use Path Project
As part of an ongoing multi-phased project, the TDC has completed a multi-use path replacement project along CR 30A from CR83 to CR283. The project included widening the existing 8-foot wide path to 10 feet, installing new signage, improving stormwater systems, and adding stop and rest areas along the path.
Additionally, the wooden sections of the bridges at Big Redfish Lake, Little Redfish Lake and Alligator Lake were replaced. Also repaired or replaced due to natural wear and tear were the pedestrian bridges over Draper Lake and Eastern Lake. Renovations at the pedestrian bridge at Deer Lake are expected to be complete by mid-May, and will include a new metal span section.
As for the multi-use path project, next up will be the sections between CR 395 and Lakewood Drive by Eastern Lake. These projects are being done in conjunction with Walton County public works stormwater initiatives. The projects are currently under design and permitting, and construction will begin in the next two to three years.
New Regional Beach Accesses
As the TDC continues to expand beachfront for both locals and visitors to enjoy, there are three new regional beach accesses currently in the works. These additional access points will bring the total number of Regional Beach Access in South Walton – complete with restrooms, lifeguards, parking and beach warning flags – from eight to 11.
The properties are located in Miramar Beach (2.03 acres and 409-feet of beachfront), Seagrove Beach (1.5 acres and 117-feet of beachfront) and Dune Allen Beach (1.51 acres and 222-feet of beachfront).
The Miramar Beach property is approximately 70 percent through the design and permitting stage. Construction there is expected to begin late summer. The Seagrove Beach property is approximately 50 percent through the design and permitting stage and construction is expected to being early 2020.
Work on the Dune Allen property is currently underway, and underground site work has been completed. Contractors are currently installing curbs and gutters, and building the restroom facility. Construction should be completed by late summer.
In addition to purchasing property for beach accesses, the TDC has also been acquiring land to add additional parking. The large, free use parking area in Grayton Beach is probably the most visible example, where the TDC was able to add 274 parking spaces and eight handicap spaces on the 7.35-acre property. The Walton County Board of County Commissioners also recently approved the purchase of a 2.3-acre parcel of land along CR393 near Gulf Place that will serve as additional parking within walking distance of the Ed Walline Regional Beach Access and local shopping and entertainment. That property is expected to accommodate between 120-150 vehicles.
With summer season fast approaching, the TDC has again entered into agreements to partner with Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to pay for free day use entry for all visitors to those state parks during the peak season, as a way to provide additional parking and beach access and lessen the concentration of visitors at any one public beach access point.