A new 340-ft beachfront park is set to become a reality in Destin thanks to a partnership between the City of Destin, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council, and Trust for Public Land.
- The new park, which will be called Tarpon Beach Park upon completion, will feature new views of the Gulf of Mexico along Scenic Highway 98.
In August 2022, the Destin City Council and Board of County Commissioners voted to move forward with an interlocal agreement between the two agencies to purchase nearly 340-feet of beachfront property at Tarpon Beach.
- In our story from August, Get The Coast reported that the purchase price of the Tarpon Beach parcels was $14,050,000.
To celebrate the project, the City of Destin will be hosting a ceremony on Friday, February 3, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the site, where the current structures on the three parcels adjacent to the Tarpon Beach Trail will be cleared to make way for the new park. The public is invited to attend.
“Making our beautiful beaches more accessible to our residents and out-of-town guests is a top priority for the County,” said Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Trey Goodwin. “This is a major step toward that goal, and we are grateful to have a team of partners that understand that commitment.”
Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner also praised the project, saying, “These kinds of partnerships are an effective way to move Destin forward in a positive direction for both locals and visitors.” He also acknowledged the work of former Mayor Gary Jarvis in making the project a reality.
The Tarpon Beach project is Phase II of a larger endeavor between Okaloosa and the city to expand public beach access in Destin. Okaloosa County and the City of Destin have pledged a combined $26.5 million to fund the project, with the cost share split 50/50 between the City and County.
- Phase I of the project, which expanded the Crystal Beach Access, took place in April 2021, and Phase II is expected to be completed in May 2024.
The County’s portion, as well as much of the City’s, will be funded with Tourism Development District revenue.
Trust for Public Land was the lead agency that helped negotiate the purchase of the properties for both Phase I and II.
“Increasing access to the pristine Tarpon Beach is not only a tourism draw for the city a but gives residents walkability to the waterfront and all its amenities that have previously been closed off,” said Kate Brown, Senior Project Manager for Trust for Public Land.
The new park at Tarpon Beach will include free parking, restrooms, and views of the Gulf of Mexico. Construction is expected to start after this tourism season, with both the Crystal Beach and Tarpon Beach parks open to the public in May 2024.