Jack Sanborn

Williamson criticized for ‘liking’ vulgar Facebook posts

Williamson criticized for ‘liking’ vulgar Facebook posts

County Commissioner Rob Williamson faced heat from constituents Monday for ‘liking’ vulgar comments made about Navarre residents on the social media platform Facebook. Navarre resident Yvonne Harper, past president of the Holley by the Sea Homeowners Association, told the Board of County Commissioners that she wanted to bring some comments to light during the public forum […]

Sanborn supporters lament his exit from TDC

Sanborn supporters lament his exit from TDC

Jack Sanborn’s forced resignation from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council last week came so suddenly that some of his supporters missed their chance to send letters backing him. “I was preparing a letter but he resigned before I could send it,” said Milton City Councilman Alan Lowery, who also sits on the volunteer […]

Tourist Development Council to hit the road

Tourist Development Council to hit the road

As the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council (TDC) continues to push toward prioritizing funding of physical tourism assets, some members of the council admitted a lack of firsthand knowledge of some existing tourism facilities. “I think if we could go back in time a little bit and actually tour some of those areas, see […]

Update: Sanborn resigns from Tourist Development Council

Update: Sanborn resigns from Tourist Development Council

Update: Jack Sanborn submitted his letter of resignation from his position on the Tourist Development Council Thursday to the Board of County Commissioners. He resigned prior to a scheduled vote to by the BOCC to decide whether or not to remove Sanborn from the council following allegations of threats made on social media and an […]

The penalties for not supporting Williamson

The penalties for not supporting Williamson

The penalties are stiff for not supporting our current commissioner Williamson – just ask Jack Sanborn. He found out the hard way. The maestro of manipulation orchestrated a move during the board of county commission meeting Monday to remove longtime Tourist Development Council member Jack Sanborn from the TDC. It wasn’t even on the agenda. […]

Tourism Development Council creates annual sponsorship opportunity

Tourism Development Council creates annual sponsorship opportunity

The Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Board took a hardline approach to grant funding for the second year in a row during their May 17 budget workshop meeting, but even with the cutbacks, many events that did not receive the grant may still count this year’s budget a victory. The Local Tourism Event Marketing Grant […]

County holds firm on funding for new butterfly house

County holds firm on funding for new butterfly house

Stay the course. That is what the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decided to do with millions of dollars of funding for the Navarre Park Master Site Plan. The Tourist Development Council (TDC) had asked the board to re-evaluate a proposed loan of more than $1.8 million, to be paid back with future […]

Chamber seeks new vision for 87

Chamber seeks new vision for 87

  U.S. Highway 98 is changing and a new business corridor is emerging. Though the thoroughfare has functioned as Navarre’s main corridor for decades, increasing traffic and potential expansion plans could mean the roadway may not be able to serve that function much longer, especially for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the […]

Kiln Walk center receives first funding push

Kiln Walk center receives first funding push

  After more than a decade of work and grant applications, the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk in Holley has finally received funds to take the first steps toward making its learning and arts center a reality. But the money is only a drop in the bucket of what the organization will need to break ground. […]

Tourism board calls for accounting

Tourism board calls for accounting

As newly appointed chairman of the Tourism Development Council (TDC), Kyle Holley has pushed for a change in how the group approaches the county’s future and expenditure of funds. Holley has served on the board for years, but in the matter of a few months he and the rest of the board, largely composed of […]

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

In an unscheduled agenda item, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) on Monday discussed cutting its number of meetings each year in half and completely eliminating the committee aspect of the group. Tourism Development Director Julie Morgan said that now the grants process is being handled in one meeting each year, the committee lacked much purpose. […]

Williamson loses bid to stay on tourism panel

Williamson loses bid to stay on tourism panel

Rob Williamson’s tumultuous tenure as the County Commission’s representative on the Tourist Development Council is almost over, despite his behind-the-scenes politicking to keep the high-profile job. New Commission Chairman Bob Cole of District 2 on Monday nominated District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker to replace Williamson, a move welcomed by some others who volunteer on the […]

Sanborn not guilty of Sunshine Law charge

Sanborn not guilty of Sunshine Law charge

Tourist Development Council member Jack Sanborn was found not guilty Friday on charges that he violated Florida’s Sunshine Law by phoning two other panel volunteers to discuss matters that had previously come before the board. Santa Rosa County Judge Jose Giraud ruled after nearly an hour-long hearing that while Sanborn’s calls on his personal cellphone […]

Sunshine Law complaint may go to trial

Sunshine Law complaint may go to trial

Jack Sanborn wants some light shed on allegations that he violated Florida’s Sunshine Law last June by speaking to another volunteer member of the Tourist Development Council. “I’d like to face my accuser and hear exactly what I said that supposedly violated the law,” Sanborn told the Navarre Press this week after State Attorney Bill […]

Sunshine scrutiny of tourist panel lingers

Sunshine scrutiny of tourist panel lingers

Even the most seemingly innocent phone call between two members of a volunteer group such as the Tourist Development Council can cause suspicion and trigger legal questions that last for months. Such a phone call in August from council member Jack Sanborn to panel colleague Kyle Holley apparently prompted a complaint from an undisclosed source […]

Haste makes $7 million waste

Haste makes $7 million waste

One thing we can all agree on is Navarre Park needs upgrades. The playground equipment needs repairs, and is not friendly to special needs children. The things we cannot agree on is why we would spend $7 million on one 7 acre park and the source of the $7 million. Pam Wingate, president of the […]

Commissioners express ‘sticker shock’ over park plan

Commissioners express ‘sticker shock’ over park plan

“When we embarked on the master plan for Navarre Park, I had no idea whatsoever that we would end up with a $6.5 million plan,” District 5 commissioner Lane Lynchard said during Monday’s Board of County Commissioner committee meeting in regards to the Navarre Park master plan. He and other commissioners described their reaction as […]

County alerted to ‘extraordinary’ park makeover cost

County alerted to ‘extraordinary’ park makeover cost

Lee Majors, television’s “Six Million Dollar Man,” now has something of a financial kinship with Rob Williamson, the Santa Rosa County commissioner with a $6 million plan. Williamson intends to unveil the seven-figure fiscal details about the proposed overhaul of Navarre Park to his commission colleagues in their Sept. 14 meeting. The District 4 commissioner […]

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Santa Rosa officials bristled at the recent scolding they received from House Speaker Richard Corcoran about the financial practices of the county’s Tourist Development Office. But they rejected a first impulse to fire off a terse letter to Corcoran—deciding instead to invite him here to prove the transparency with which the county handles its annual […]

House Speaker scolds tourism office

House Speaker scolds tourism office

Santa Rosa officials have sidestepped the volunteer Tourist Development Council to revoke the county’s longtime membership in the state’s leisure industry marketing agency–Visit Florida–prompting a warning from state House Speaker Richard Corcoran. Corcoran described the move led by County Tourism Director Julie Morgan as a “futile attempt to shield financial information from public scrutiny” in […]

Tourism board cuts event funding by half

Tourism board cuts event funding by half

Following spike in grant applications, the county Tourism Development Council (TDC) took a hard line stance on requirements to receive their funds, cutting event grant spending in half. More than $115,000 in funds was requested for 30 events throughout Santa Rosa County as part of the Local Event/Marketing Grant program. Only 14 events received approximately […]

Tourism Development Office wants more staff

Tourism Development Office wants more staff

After three months of research and a roughly $14,000 tab, a strategic plan presented to and approved by the Tourism Development Committee board Friday would request additional tourism staff be placed on the county’s payroll. Plan creator Bill Geist of Zeitgeist DMOproz said the focus of the plan is to make the TDC a “trusted […]

Tourist watchdog group wins compromise

Tourist watchdog group wins compromise

Fighting off a move by Santa Rosa officialdom to reduce its autonomy, the volunteer Tourist Development Council struck a compromise to keep open communication lines among members and avoid being shrunk. By a 6-1 vote the watchdog panel, which is authorized by the Florida Legislature to keep an eye on the county’s $2 million in […]

County to mute tourism watchdog group

County to mute tourism watchdog group

  We don’t need your advice quite so often. That’s what Santa Rosa County officials are saying to the volunteer panel of tourism industry leaders who advise them on strategies to grow the area economy’s largest segment. Members of the Tourist Development Council have been summoned one by one during the past month to meet […]

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Tough Mudder fails to boost bed taxes

Disappointing bed-tax revenue in April, when Tough Mudder Inc.’s two-day event near Milton was expected to give the Santa Rosa County numbers a bump, is prompting tourism industry leaders to reconsider the financial incentives promised to the New York company. County commissioners voted last November to pay Tough Mudder $110,000, including $80,000 from bed taxes, […]

New park’s lack of restrooms questioned

New park’s lack of restrooms questioned

The county’s new $750,000 Bagdad Mill Site Park that’s scheduled to open May 16 will be a recreational showplace, but some tourism leaders have questioned why it won’t have public restrooms. “We need bathrooms at parks where families will bring their children,” said Kyle Holley, a member of Santa Rosa County’s volunteer Tourism Development Council, […]

Tough Mudder waffling on promotion promise

Tough Mudder waffling on promotion promise

Despite being given $80,000 in Santa Rosa taxpayer money as an incentive to stage its military-style obstacle course near Milton, Tough Mudder Inc. is apparently reneging on its contractual agreement to host a pre-event party. County tourism officials and commissioners thought they had negotiated the for-profit, New York-based company’s financial support for a party on […]

County resumes sharing tourism taxes with Gulf Breeze

County resumes sharing tourism taxes with Gulf Breeze

The longtime sharing of county tourism tax dollars with the City of Gulf Breeze, which was abruptly halted last fall, will be restarted under a new written agreement that remits to the municipality 90 percent of the money collected by hotels within its borders. Read the full article in the Mar. 10 issue of Navarre […]

Tourism leaders spar with Rob Williamson

Tourism leaders spar with Rob Williamson

The discord between District 4 County Commissioner Rob Williamson and some hospitality industry veterans has surfaced for the fourth time since November and made him a sometimes churlish minority of one on the Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Council. Williamson, appointed to the council last year by his fellow commissioners, has broken with most the […]

Tough Mudder eases lodging demands

Tough Mudder eases lodging demands

Tough Mudder Inc. blinked. Under questioning from a prospective lodging “partner” about the company’s recent financial demands in return for promoting Santa Rosa County overnight stays at its event scheduled here next April, a company executive now says its fees are negotiable. A month after sending out controversial contracts to area hotels and condominium managers […]