As reported on WZEP AM 1460 from yesterday's BCC meeting:
Administrator Larry Jones gave an update on a possible sports complex in southern Walton. He talked about the public meetings, funding, possible locations and what they want the park to look like. Commissioner Imfeld said he not only wants to see a source of funding identified, but to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the parcels. Commissioner Meadows said she likes the parcel of land at the old sprayfield. She said they should use the BP money to buy the property and move ahead on getting sports fields in south Walton. Imfeld said he would like to see the various funding options that are available and the BP money could be used to catch up on other projects. Meadows said they are battling over who will use Helen McCall Park fields and the sports complex is needed.
I would like them to buy "dry" land for these sports fields. It makes no sense to buy and build in locations that frequently can't be used because they are too wet or flooded. Or to buy land that has possible health risks from chemicals.
Walton county BCC voted to pursue purchase of 34.63 acres located on east US 98 for development of a sports complex for our local citizens. We will also be looking at the feasibility of leasing acreage in Miramar for open space/multi purpose practice areas. An additional $300,000 will be funded to improve facilities at Helen McCall Park including but not limited to: additional restrooms, storage area, lights, fencing, parking, security technology and tennis courts.
The purchase will be funded by borrowing the funds from a previous loan. The BCC will send out a Request For Proposal (RFP) for design and construction of the complex and other improvements. A timeline will be forthcoming.
The Walton Commissioners agreed to buy land for a new sports complex. Saying there is a need and another parcel like this might not come again anytime soon, the commissioners agreed 5-0 to buy the land connected to the site the school board recently purchased.
The county’s appraisal and an appraisal done by land owner M.C. Davis were apart, around $1 million versus just over $3 million. While the seller usually does not get an appraisal, Davis asked and the commissioners agreed. Davis came back with a proposal of $2.4 million. plus $400,00 for the county’s share share of a common access road. Since the amount is much more than the appraisal, it takes at least a 4-1 vote to pass.
Commissioner Bill Chapman said they only have $10 million to work with for the parks in south Walton. After the land purchase, work on Helen McCall Park and other costs, only around $5 million will be left. Commissioner Cindy Meadows said they should be able to build the sports complex with $5 million; that this should be a way to get started. Chapman said he agrees, his point was residents need to understand you can only build what you can with the amount available. Commissioner Sara Comander asked if the parents could also help, help the way it has been done in the past on the north end.
South Walton resident and mom, Emily Weekly, presented signatures of people who want the park as well as letters from leagues wanting to use it and asking to be part of the design process. She also asked to table the discussion about tennis courts for Helen McCall until a meeting on the south end that more parents could attend. Later commissioners moved forward with the tennis courts, but allowed for more input in the design.
Resident Alan Osborne told the commissioners they will never get a chance to buy land like this again. He also talked about the growth in south Walton, especially the growth in the student population. He said all these decisions are effecting the kids.
Commissioners agreed to buy the land on a 5-0 vote.