Okaloosa County is moving forward with plans to develop a new waterfront park in the city of Mary Esther.
The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $289,092 task order for MRD Associates to provide permitting, design and construction services for the proposed Cristobal Waterfront Park. The 1.15-acre park will be located along Santa Rosa Sound in Mary Esther.
“This is going to get us off and running,” said Deputy Administrator Craig Coffey.
The county will split the task order cost with the city of Mary Esther under an interlocal agreement in which the county will lead development of the park before handing over ownership and operations to the city upon completion.
Planned amenities at Cristobal Waterfront Park include parking, sidewalks, a fishing pier, boardwalk, canoe/kayak launch, gazebos and restrooms. The project will also involve environmental permitting through the state Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- Coffey previously said the new park will help meet high demand for public water access as the area’s population grows. Water activities remain top recreational draws for tourists and locals.
Commissioner Nathan Boyles praised the project’s momentum from recent property acquisition to design phase in short order, calling it faster than the “glacial pace” often associated with government work. Coffey said he could expect to see a similar pace with the Shalimar Waterfront Park as well.
The park plans align with the county’s vision for tourism growth and economic development by boosting recreational opportunities in Mary Esther while improving residents’ quality of life, officials said.