It’s election day across Okaloosa County

To: Daily Rundown Readers

👋 Good morning!

We have quite a bit to cover in this newsletter, so let’s get to it!


It is time to vote in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Laurel Hill

Voting day is today for the cities of Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Laurel Hill. As of 6:30am this morning, voter turnout was only 8.73%.

For Fort Walton Beach, residents will be voting for three open seats on the city council. Here are the 12 candidates:

  • Nic Allegretto
  • Gloria DeBerry
  • Jason Floyd
  • Sean Murphy
  • Debra Riley
  • Brad Roehrig
  • Michael Rojas
  • David Schmidt
  • Travis Smith
  • Gareth Stearns
  • Sanya Vazquez
  • Payne Walker

In Destin, residents will be voting on a charter amendment with regards to whether or not the council can transfer legal interest in parks at a higher voting level.

“What that means is right now, is that they can transfer any legal interest in parks pursuant any of their other rights at a simple majority on a seven-member council, that’s only four votes,” explains Parker Destin, political/legal correspondent. “What this charter amendment proposes to do is to heighten that standard to five votes, which has a super majority of seven.”

For Laurel Hill, this is very interesting because one, residents will be voting for a new mayor and two, they actually have a vote for dissolution, meaning they may actually vote to dissolve the city of Laurel Hill.

“If you’re in Destin, Fort Walton or Laurel Hill, today is an important day,” continued Parker. “You got to show up cause we’re voting!”

Click the video link above to watch or listen.

Destin tackles the issue of parking and traffic in Harbor District

PARKING & TRAFFIC: Last week the City of Destin discussed the ongoing issue of parking and traffic in the Harbor District.

The big topic was the Multi-Modal Transportation District that was established in the early 2000s as a means to encourage NOT using your vehicle has a means to get around Destin.

“It is a district that was created in the early 2000s that was intended to deal with Destin’s existing and long-term growth problems attendant to parking and attendant to traffic,” explained Parker Destin.

“The idea would be that this district would approve growth so long as that it had enhanced multimodal use, meaning non-personal vehicular use of infrastructure in the South Harbor. Meaning you come by trolley, you come by a foot, you come by bike instead of using your car and in exchange, growth would be approved so long as those enhancements were brought in.”

According to Parker, it’s now been 20 years later and Destin still has lots of parking deficits in the Harbor to the tune of about 1,800 parking spaces short.

“We don’t have parking garages, we don’t have trolleys and some of the highest critics and staunchest critics of the districts say that the district was mostly just created to exist in our imagination and on paper so that city officials could approve growth while giving at least lip service to the idea that the long-term infrastructure problems were being addressed,” continued Parker.

The city council is now back to dealing with the multimodal district and dealing with what they should do long-term on improving parking and infrastructure, and whether or not they should pursue parking garages.

“Critics on a proponent say that parking garages are needed so that people have somewhere to park to visit the South Harbor,” said Parker. “Critics are saying that the parking garages are equivalent to socialized parking because if you have growth of private property on the South Harbor, they should be the one providing their own parking rather than offshoring that onto the taxpayers. That debate continues and the council is delving into it over the next series of meetings on dealing with how they’re actually going to fund parking garages, if they even should.”

Click the video link above to watch or listen.

More Pickleball in Destin???

Pickleball in Destin has become a hot topic in the past few weeks with residents wanting more dedicated pickleball courts.

“So pickleball has actually been pursued by a lot of folks,” said Parker Destin, legal/political correspondent. “It’s exploded, especially amongst our snowbird visitors, and from a recreational infrastructure standpoint, it’s one of the most highly utilized bits of infrastructure we’ve got for recreational purposes within the City of Destin.

According to Parker, the city is consistently asked every year to increase the amount of pickleball courts available in Destin.

“I believe that the current status is that there has been money earmarked for the conversion of several tennis courts into pickleball courts,” Parker continued. “A few of them may actually be receiving pole barns so that you can use them when the weather’s not great. And long-term, there’s discussions, but unbudgeted.”

“That we will increase the indoor capacity of a pickle ball courts within the city desk. And I know that the council remains committed to the enhancement of that infrastructure within the city. It’s just a question of budgeting and get the ball rolling on engineering and then moving the dirt and get the stuff built.”

Click the video link above to watch or listen.

Stormwater Runoff Issues in the City of Destin

Since the City of Destin’s incorporation, one issue that they have had to deal with is water quality and there’s been some issues with stormwater runoff and the infrastructure dealing with water quality.

“When it rains, stuff runs off into the lowest points in Destin and that happens to be the Destin Harbor,” said Parker Destin, legal/political correspondent. “So the City of Destin is delving into continued pursuance of enhanced water quality in the City of Destin and, most in particularly, Destin Harbor.”

According to Parker, this is done through working with Harbor owners of private property that align on the Destin Harbor, and also with Department of Environmental Protection.

“That is being pursued by with working with the owners to make sure that on private property, there’s functional runoff and storm water infrastructure,” continued Parker. “And also, that the state-maintained public infrastructure is working as well.”

Click the video link above to watch or listen.

Allegiant at VPS is offering a new nonstop flight to Grand Rapids, Michigan
Allegiant has announced a new nonstop flight to Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).  The company is offering one-way fares on the new route as low as $82, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. 
Allegiant at VPS is offering a new nonstop flight to Grand Rapids, Michigan
Allegiant has announced a new nonstop flight to Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).  The company is offering one-way fares on the new route as low as $82, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. 
It’s illegal to walk on them, but there are still ways to enjoy dunes
Midway along the drive between Okaloosa Island and Destin, the protected dunes might largely go unnoticed by motorists, but they are an important and visually rich feature to the seawall. Wind and water have shaped the dunes over time and for the most part, that is the only thing in decades that has touched this unique landscape. Read more on the dunes…
It’s illegal to walk on them, but there are still ways to enjoy dunes
Midway along the drive between Okaloosa Island and Destin, the protected dunes might largely go unnoticed by motorists, but they are an important and visually rich feature to the seawall. Wind and water have shaped the dunes over time and for the most part, that is the only thing in decades that has touched this unique landscape. Read more on the dunes…

Ok, that’s all I have for you this morning! Have a great Tuesday!

Jared

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