Many Options For 1 Harbor Blvd.

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“Reel Talk” from the City of Destin

By Tamara Leigh Young, PhD, Public Information Manager for the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village

City of Destin MayorIt’s time for more “reel” talk from the mayor and me. This time, Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner and I met up at 1 Harbor Blvd to discuss the new city purchase. Please email me at tyoung@cityofdestin.com if you’d like to submit a question or have a topic you’d like discussed in an upcoming issue.

TY: Rarely do you see the community come together in agreement on a topic like the unanimous 7-0 vote by council to acquire 1 Harbor Blvd. I know $9 million is a lot of money, but my personal viewpoint is the space is worth the view! Or keeping the view unobstructed, at least. Please tell me that’s the case.

BW: That’s definitely the case. With this parcel being one of the best places in Destin due to the 180 degree panoramic waterfront views of both East Pass and Crab Island, I’m going to challenge our designers and engineers to preserve the view whether by foot or driving by.

TY: I’ve read a lot of creative ideas on social media about how the space could be used. One that received a lot of love was the idea of an amphitheater. What are your thoughts on that, as well as the increased parking challenges that it might bring?

BW: The amphitheater could be amazing and provide a one-of-a-kind backdrop for everyone. Other ideas I have heard are a City Marina, a ferry connection point, new location for the “Welcome to Destin” sign and many more. I believe if the city can continue to work together and take public input to heart, we can create a sense of place that locals can be proud of and use often regardless of the season.

As for parking, we do know as we bring more reasons for people to visit the Harbor, parking will be even more of a challenge. I do not see 1 Harbor Blvd. as the place for answering that challenge, though. The city currently owns two parking areas in the Harbor district that have plenty of room for creative design while adding more parking. I strongly believe as we plan for the future of our Harbor district that we do so with centralized parking and public transportation as a core principle of the design. This will allow us to plan locations like 1 Harbor Blvd without sacrificing green space for required parking spaces and storm water areas. We know it’s a challenge, but we want to maximize the land for public use at 1 Harbor Blvd.

City of Destin Bobby Wagner at 1 Harbor BoulevardTY: From what we’ve heard, most locals are adamant that the 2-acre parcel not be turned into a giant building, and staff, council and harbor CRA committee agree, and our zoning codes wouldn’t allow for more than 50 feet high or four stories anyway. So, what’s the buzz on what else we could do?

BW: Something I do feel confident that we’ll be doing is continuing the Harbor boardwalk underneath the bridge and allowing a place for locals to safely walk and bike to and through when they want to go to the Harbor or take the future bike path that will expand across all of Okaloosa Island. It would also allow us to connect West Destin like never before.

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