Gulf of Mexico
Jared Williams / Get The Coast

FL - Destin & Okaloosa look to purchase 336-feet of Tarpon Beach property to become public beach access

During Monday night’s City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to move forward with an interlocal agreement between the City of Destin and Okaloosa County to purchase nearly 340-feet of beachfront property at Tarpon Beach.

On Tuesday morning, the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners also approved the new agreement.

Here’s how we got here…

In October 2020, Okaloosa County & the City of Destin entered into an interlocal agreement to improve beach access in Destin by acquiring and developing three gulf-front parcels adjacent to the Shore of Crystal Beach Park.

  • In the original agreement, the parties agreed the County would bear 59% of the cost, and the City would provide 41%.
  • This would expand Shore at Crystal Beach Park from 67’ to 251’ of waterfront access.

The Trust for Public Land originally entered into a negotiated purchase agreement with all three parcel owners in the Shore of Crystal Beach park area. Two of those parcels were purchased on the original closing date, while the owner of the short-term rental property at 2968 Scenic Highway 98 unexpectedly terminated the purchase agreement shortly before the closing date, according to the city.

This center parcel is critical to the future plans for the Shore at Crystal Beach, according to the city of Destin. The two other parcels purchased by the city have since been cleared of structures for public use.

The final cost of the Shore of Crystal Beach Project from acquisition to operation of a full park is estimated to be $15,750,000.

Expansion of the Tourist Taxing District

In September 2021, Okaloosa County executed a new interlocal agreement with all nine municipalities as part of the expansion of the Tourist Taxing District. As part of the expansion agreement, the County now sets aside 12.5% of its total revenue generated by the first five pennies of the TDT for use by the municipalities for the 20-year period beginning March 2022 and ending February 2042.

  • In a separate interlocal agreement, the municipalities agreed that the City of Destin would receive 48.5% of the 12.5% set-aside.

Based upon the trend reports from 2019-current, the City and the TDD conservatively estimate the City of Destin’s share to amount to approximately $1.6 million per year.

  • By statute, expenditures must increase tourism or improve tourist experience in our locality.
  • Beach acquisition is specifically recognized by statute as an authorized use.

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