Eglin Air Force Base is asking for the county’s support to explore the concept of reopening the Navarre Beach Pass.
Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners will vote on whether to write a letter of support for the pass on U.S. Air Force property at no expense to the county. The Navarre Pass was first created in 1965 but the cut was quickly refilled with sand following Hurricane Betsy.
Col. Michael Contratto sent commissioners an email stating that the Eglin Range Development Executive Steering Committee was evaluating the possibility of reopening the pass, but wanted community support behind it.
“Realizing this is a subject of passion for many residents of the local community, I would not want Eglin AFB leadership to speculate on outcomes without a clear understanding of the full proposal and passing a level of community approval before reaching the RDSEC,” Contratto wrote.
Commission Chairman Lane Lynchard said he thought the county should support the idea if the military was interested in exploring it.
Commissioner Jim Melvin said he received about 60 emails Sunday alone supporting the reopening of the pass.
“(Eglin’s) desire is that they want to be absolutely positive before we get any deeper into the discussion that there is solid community support for this project,” Melvin said.
For more on this story, see the Oct. 27 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.