County Commissioners Monday selected the firm that will shape Navarre’s future or at least the plan for it.
Matrix Design Group was selected by a three to two vote to create a District 4 Master Plan. District 4 includes Navarre, Holley and Navarre Beach. The firm will be paid approximately $80,000 to $150,000 for the planning services.
Commission Chairman and District 4 representative Rob Williamson pointed out that the District 4 is more than Navarre because it includes the majority of tourism to the area and military families.
He said the master plan is meant to be long term even after the sitting board is out of office.
“The goal is that we would ultimately have a product that would out serve us,” he said. “This would ultimately be the vision of District 4 and the future development moving forward would come about through robust public comment and at the end of the day we will have a product that has been designed and generated by the community.”
In their presentation Matrix indicated that creating a “sense of arrival” and building up proper transportation will be key. Matrix also included diversifying the economy of the area from tourism as a big goal. The presenter indicated that $300 million of retail sales were lost to neighboring counties because of a lack of options.
The presenters said they will be gathering public input to create the plan through scheduled meetings, appearing at local events and providing survey opportunities.
Matrix has previously done or is currently working on growth management and land use plans in Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa County and Walton County.
Williamson voted for Matrix as did Commissioners Don Salter and Sam Parker.
In other action, the review period on purchase of a site for a new county courthouse is coming to a close. The roughly 19 acre property along Avalon Boulevard would cost the county $850,000. It is valued at a little more than $1 million.
Commissioner Sam Parker spearheaded the purchase citing the need to replace the courthouse sooner than later.
“I think the united support of the board will help pass any sales tax that would be the best funding option for this [courthouse] next year,” Parker said.
But Williamson reiterated concerns about the location. He said the property could be better used as a commercial site, and he said they would be losing county revenue by taking the property off the tax rolls.
“I feel that there are other options there,” he said.
Commissioner Bob Cole said the potential growth of the area could bring in additional revenue. Commissioner Don Salter said he also supports the purchase.
Commissioner Lane Lynchard said he would not support the purchase.
A final vote on the property will be taken Thursday.
Also on the agenda for Thursday will be:
- Approval of an estimate $120,000 contract for strategic planning of economic development by Garner Economics, LLC
- Presentation of a more than $7 million remodel and update of Navarre Park
As seen in the Sept. 14 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.