Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park under construction in Destin, Florida

Destin City Council plans for Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park completion by Memorial Day 2023

Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park under construction in Destin, Florida

The Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Parklocated at 206 Harbor Boulevard, has faced significant delays in construction since its inception in January 2021. 

  • Initially slated for completion by Fall 2021, the project has dragged on for over two years, and previously had an estimated completion date of mid-April 2022.

The City of Destin is now proposing a plan to open the park by Memorial Day 2023. On March 20, 2023, the Destin City Council held a meeting to discuss the status of the park, aiming to take the necessary steps to ensure its timely completion.

In the lead-up to the council meeting, the City provided the contractor with the latest site inspection reports from the project architect and engineer, following an inspection carried out on February 27, 2023. The contractor was then asked to respond with a plan of action to correct the noted items, a timeframe for commencing corrections, and a timeframe for completing corrections.

  • The contractor was informed that if an agreeable response was not received, the City would consider all options to have the park project completed in a timely manner, including self-performing the final items to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

At the time of the meeting, the City estimated that the project is 95% complete. Completing the final steps would enable the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy and the opening of the Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park in time for the 2023 Summer Season.

Staff recommended an internal budget transfer from Buck Destin Restrooms to complete the park project. However, Council-member Dewey Destin disagreed with this approach, stating, “I’ll make a motion that we proceed to finish it ourselves, but the money comes from the council contingency because I don’t think we should sacrifice one [park] for another.”

A motion was made to direct the City Manager to provide the county and U.S. Treasury with formal notice of the city’s desire to complete the Punch List Work at a cost to be borne by the city, authorizing the City Manager and legal to take the necessary steps to complete the Punch List Work in an amount up to $45,000. 

  • The motion also authorized an internal budget transfer of $45,000 from the Council Contingency Fund to complete the Captain Royal Melvin Park and obtain a certificate of occupancy for the park prior to Memorial Day 2023. The motion passed 5-0.

Another motion was made to direct staff to bring back a budget amendment at the next council meeting in the amount of $50,000 from the Fund Balance to the Council Contingency Fund. This motion also passed 5-0.

The Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park site is located just east of Dewey Destin’s Harborside Restaurant. Once completed, the park will feature:

  • A small playground.
  • Harbor and Wildlife Observation Platform with educational signage.
  • Harbor Boardwalk.
  • Picnic pavilion.
  • Terraced walkway from Harbor Boulevard to the harbor boardwalk.
  • Drinking fountain and restrooms at the resource center.
  • Bike racks near the park entrance at Harbor Boulevard.

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