Around $3 million for improvements to Navarre Park were approved in 2017 but delayed for more than a year due to permitting issues. Storm debris from Hurricane Sally threatened to further delay construction, but then the Santa Rosa County Parks staff rushed in to keep the project on track. Now the first phase of improvements can finally move forward in October and hopefully be completed by July 4, 2021.
Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Director Julie White on Tuesday confirmed Phase I improvements will start as planned next month. White said county parks staff have been working hard to get the park reopened and that the Visitor Information Center, pavilions and restrooms will remain open during construction – only the east end of the park, which houses the children’s areas, will remain closed. The pier will remain accessible via the shoreline.
Initially Phase I plans included a brand new facility for the Panhandle Butterfly House; however, after disagreements with certain county leaders that organization has instead relocated to Milton, and the existing, vacant building will be demolished.
But other improvements are moving forward, including a new ADA playground, which is being funded through $100,000 in contributions by Starfish Project, a Navarre-based nonprofit which supports special needs families. Additionally, Rotary Club of Navarre on September 9 announced their plan to fund a Harmony Park, featuring outdoor ADA musical equipment at the former Butterfly House site.
Other planned improvements include the addition of 50+ parking spaces, replacing/repairing collapsing sea walls, filling in the duck pond, removing a shoreline walkway which had been closed for years due to previous storm damage, addressing stormwater runoff issues, constructing a park maintenance building and many landscaping and beautiﬁcation projects.