Property Along Destin Harbor Preserved (FL)

Destin, FL, 12/21/2006: – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, announced today that it has conveyed a property on Destin Harbor to the City of Destin that will allow public access to the harbor and will provide much-needed open space in a rapidly developing area. The property measures just under an acre and includes six boat slips. The city plans to permanently relocate the Destin History and Fishing Museum to the site.

One of the city’s priorities has been to increase and enhance public access to its beaches and waterways, and public access to the harbor is of particular importance. But with the value of harbor-front property continuing to rise, and private developers quickly buying up land, efforts to transform the area into a harbor-front boardwalk have been challenging.

“The Destin Harbor is the quintessential foundation of Destin’s rich history, and the successful acquisition of this public plaza, coupled with a partnership with the museum, will enable the city to preserve its fishing heritage for future generations to enjoy and to learn from,” said Destin Mayor Craig Barker.

The city contacted TPL last year and asked for help in acquiring the property. TPL worked with landowner Jean Melvin to purchase it in October and has held the property until the city obtained the funds necessary to buy it. The city will apply for a state grant through the Florida Communities Trust program in 2007, seeking reimbursement for 75% of the purchase price of $4.6 million.

“We appreciate the partnership with the Trust for Public Land in acquiring this property to ensure that the public retains access to the Destin Harbor,” said Destin City Manager Greg Kisela.

“I applaud the city council and staff for their fine work in preserving a piece of the Destin Harbor that will become even more meaningful for everyone,” said Bob Guido, senior project manager of The Trust for Public Land. “This property is invaluable because it will provide educational and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, and it also protects the integrity of the harbor.”

The city envisions a pedestrian-oriented environment with recreational opportunities along the harbor boardwalk, including charter fishing opportunities for the public.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information please contact us at 850-222-7911 or visit us on the web at