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Okaloosa County purchases the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds for $4 million

On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, Okaloosa County approved an interlocal agreement to purchase 20.3 acres of the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds property from the City of Fort Walton Beach.  The 20-year agreement obligates […]

Okaloosa Public Information Office

On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, Okaloosa County approved an interlocal agreement to purchase 20.3 acres of the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds property from the City of Fort Walton Beach. 

  • The agreement, which also includes the sale of .42 acres of County-owned property to the City, was approved by the City of Fort Walton Beach on February 28.

The 20-year agreement obligates the County to maintain the property for public use and prohibits its sale without approval from the Fort Walton Beach City Council. Additionally, the County must allow existing events and uses to continue while working towards enhancing and improving the facility for future events. The fairgrounds property will also serve as a staging area for first responders during emergencies or crisis situations.

Located off Lewis Turner Boulevard, the property is near the south County courthouse facility, including fairgrounds, ballfields, and a fire training center. The City will retain approximately 6.03 acres, containing the City’s fire training tower and an area leased to Emerald Coast Harley-Davidson for use as a driving course. 

  • The City will also purchase the County’s .42-acre triangle-shaped frontage parcel located east of the driveway, directly abutting the property the City is retaining.

Okaloosa County says their primary objective is to keep the property in public ownership. The County’s general plan for the fairgrounds includes maintaining it as an event center for the foreseeable future, utilizing it as a lower-cost alternative to the convention center for events, and having the County tourism staff manage the facility. 

The County aims to preserve current events, grow and enhance those events where possible, add new events and increase bookings, and develop a long-term capital improvement plan to transform the fairgrounds into a better event facility.

Following the expansion of the bed tax district in 2021, the County will use $4,050,000 of tourism bed tax revenue for this transaction. The sale is expected to close within 120 days.

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Community Comments

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“The deputy did not have the right to use his firearm to escalate to the deadly force threshold. On any domestic disturbance, we were trained as law enforcement officers to...”
“Eglin has aleady given up the back nine holes of the Falcon golf course. The Falcon is now a 9 hole course. My concern is how the topography matches up...”
“I think this plan would be great for this community. Changing with the times bringing economic growth. Jobs. Improvement housing and business opportunities. Vibrancy to the community.”
“The affordable housing in that area near wonderful schools and senior assisted living condominiums would be great. For the military to even think of leasing or selling land for these...”
“The greedy s.o.b.s have already screwed up the whole town.i never dreamed that it would be the way it is. It's a damn shame!!!”
“All the greedy sobs already screwed up the whole town . I was raised here as kid and never dreamed this kind of crap would happen to this place. It's...”
“BS Affordable Housing My A$$! DO NOT DO IT Gen Geraghty! Keep Eglin Fed Owned and Controlled! Seriously they think they can get or even afford Poquito Bayou and Eglin...”
“They think that Eglin AFB is going to give up there golf course!!!! They are so delusional!!”
“Unreal. There is no room for more people here. Dirtbags and POS people are gonna move in and ruin there great area. People are so greedy it is unreal. Clearly...”