The Panhandle Butterfly House celebrated its 20th year Saturday with a ribbon cutting and grand reopening. The house was founded by Jack and Fonda Wetherell in 1997 and began as a cooperative effort of the Santa Rosa Clean Community System, Inc., the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service and the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Today it operates as a nonprofit program of the Santa Rosa Clean Community System, Inc. and the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service with support from the Florida Master Gardeners.
At the grand reopening, District 4 commissioner Rob Williamson unveiled the master plan for the makeover of Navarre Park.
The renovations include a new 1,500 square foot Butterfly House and a new 2,000 square foot vivarium for the Panhandle Butterfly House. As the cornerstone of the east end of the park, the house will be surrounded by gardens and walking paths and will be somewhere people will want to come have their lunch or just hang out, Williamson said.
“This will be one of the finest parks in the state when we are done,” Williamson said at the opening.
Most notable in the rendering of the park is a relocated splash pad, kayak launch, a stage and performance plaza and expanded parking. Williamson indicated he had spoken with Florida Department of Transportation officials regarding the right of way property along U.S. Highway 98 and they were amenable to transferring that property to the county. In the rendering, the right of way is slated for additional parking along the east end of the park.
As seen in the May 11 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.