The Fort Walton Beach City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to accept a $300,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation for the design and construction of the Coral Creek Nature Trail.
- The grant will cover 50% of the estimated $600,000 cost for the project. The city will provide a matching $300,000, possibly using bed-tax money from tourists.
Public Works Director Daniel Payne presented the item to the council. The multi-use trail will connect city property near Robinwood Drive SW to either Coral Drive SW or Cowrie Avenue SW via a pedestrian bridge over Coral Creek.
The project scope includes lighting, landscaping, amenities for pedestrians and cyclists, and environmental education components. The trail aims to improve public access and safety in the area, which has seen issues with homeless encampments in recent years.
Councilman Nic Allegretto made the motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Councilman Bryce Jeter. The council’s unanimous vote authorized City Manager Jeff Peters to execute an agreement with FDOT to receive the funds.
- The grant funding must be used by October 31, 2024. The city will be responsible for any cost overruns beyond the $600,000 estimate.
Councilman John Mead said he hopes the council can approve connecting the trail to the city’s recreation facility in the future, while Allegretto said he would like to see solar-powered lighting be integrated into the new nature trail.