Santa Rosa County is getting a new park which will provide swimming access to Clear Creek near NAS Whiting Field.
County Commissioners during their January 11 meeting approved a purchase agreement with the Trust for Public Lane to buy 435.52 acres of land surrounding Clear Creek, utilizing U.S. Navy and Defense Infrastructure Grant funding.
The $2.9 million acquisition project will utilize $1.5 million in U.S. Navy funding and $1.5 million in Defense Infrastructure Grant money.
NAS Whiting Field’s Naval Operational Liaison Officer Randy Roy said the project will prevent encroachment on the installation. He also pointed out that the purchase was negotiated at a cost below the appraised value of the land, which has been owned by the Rosasco family.
“The will be a great addition to our county park lands but another good thing about the project is that no county funds had to be used to buy the land,” said District 3 County Commissioner James Calkins, who has been working with NAS Whiting Field representatives, county and state officials and the Longleaf Alliance, a conservation organization.
Vernon Compton, representing the Longleaf Alliance, told the board on Monday that tying base buffering in with conservation, water protection and recreation provides “so much alignment of good things for Santa Rosa County.”
Calkins noted that District 3 recreation funding could be utilize to make improvements to the property.
“It will allow citizens and families a chance to have some outdoor fun without having to drive so far for swimming access,” Calkins said.