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Florida county approves plan to purchase private beach properties to establish additional, future public beach access

Florida county approves plan to purchase private beach properties to establish additional, future public beach access

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Perhaps a few people remember years ago, being able to drive down to the beach to enjoy the sights on Florida’s Highway 98 and viewing miles of open, white, sandy beaches.

Nowadays you’re lucky if you get to see a glimpse of the ocean on that same drive, and if you do, you have to slow way down and grab quick peeks of it between the privately owned buildings.

At an Okaloosa County Commission meeting on Tuesday, board members have voted and approved more than $10 million in order to bring the beaches back for public access, according to reports.

“(We’ve) partnered with the Okaloosa County TDC, the Trust for Public Lands, and the Okaloosa County Commission to start acquiring beachfront from willing private sellers and re-dedicating it,” said Destin City Councilman Parker Destin.

Councilman Destin said the plan is to knock down some of the homes and open up a larger beach access.

“This is going to be the first time that you can drive down Scenic Highway 98 and see the Gulf in almost three decades, so we are going to be tearing down the buildings, re-establishing the dune line, and turning the time table backwards,” said Destin.

The project is scheduled to start in 2021.

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