Don Gaetz helped in Gulf Breeze park wrangling

Although influential Florida Sen. Don Gaetz maintained a cautious public position as the City of Gulf Breeze pushed for more compensation for right of way to build the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, behind the scenes he advocated for the municipality’s quest.

“At first the Florida Department of Transportation’s offer was zero, nothing,” said Gulf Breeze Mayor Matt Dannheisser. “It was Sen. Gaetz who got involved and then FDOT made an offer of $2 million.” FDOT floated that figure in mid-May, but after the Gulf Breeze City Council balked, the agency raised its offer to $2.2 million.

In June, while the city held out for a price closer to the $13 million that a consultant had estimated as the potential value for part of the six-acre Wayside Park on U.S. Highway 98, Gaetz was among several high-profile public officials who warned that the bargaining could doom the state’s $450 million funding for the bridge.


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