TDC

Amphitheater planned for Navarre Beach

Amphitheater planned for Navarre Beach

Tourist Development Council (TDC) members voted Thursday to earmark $300,000 in next year’s budget to build a beachfront amphitheater. The project was brought forward by Tourist Development Director Julie White during the TDC’s annual budget meeting. She explained that the beach currently holds host to a variety of concerts and events, including the Tunes by […]

Tourism council seeks Navarre Park reevaluation

Tourism council seeks Navarre Park reevaluation

The Tourism Development Council (TDC) is asking for a second look at funding of the Navarre Park Master Plan putting the park plan in limbo once again. Roughly $3.6 million of funding discussed to improve the park’s parking lots, splash pad, play equipment, add a restroom and build a new Panhandle Butterfly House vivarium and […]

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 […]

Tourist Development committee needs their voice back

Tourist Development committee needs their voice back

Numerous articles in Navarre Press over the past year and few months have highlighted the pains endured and discord with the Board of County Commissioners that continues to plague the all-volunteer advisory Tourist Development Council.  The Legislature-mandated council is made up of tourism stake-holders as required by Florida Statute 125.0104.  While the statute allows for […]

Reef cam will offer peek at reefs

Reef cam will offer peek at reefs

The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station (NBMSS) is one step closer to making the Gulf Coast Discovery Center (GCDC) a reality as final preparations are underway for the installation of a live-streaming reef camera. WTR-TV, or Watch the Reef TV, is expected to be up and running as early as the end of July. This […]

Tough Mudder misses contract deadline

Tough Mudder misses contract deadline

The deadline passed weeks ago for Tough Mudder Inc. to file an economic impact study that documents how Santa Rosa County benefited from its April 9-10 event in Milton. Although submission of the study is required before the county gives the company $80,000 in support money, Tough Mudder nevertheless sent an invoice to Tourist Office […]

Grant money brings big entertainment to Santa Rosa for 2016-17

Grant money brings big entertainment to Santa Rosa for 2016-17

The Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Committee (TDC) approved $61,225 in grants Tuesday, June 7 to fund 18 events such as festivals, 5Ks, concerts, parades and even butterfly tagging in the county. The funds are part of the bed-tax budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal years. Bed taxes are collected on visitors to the county who […]

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, […]

Sales tax backers labor to woo voters

Sales tax backers labor to woo voters

Tinkering with the nuts and bolts of their sales tax appeal to voters scheduled for the Aug. 30 ballot, county commissioners are trying to make it fly as they keep getting flak from the idea’s critics. Only 10 days before the deadline to submit the proposal to the county elections office, commissioners finally decided on […]

Pace of tourism growth slows

Pace of tourism growth slows

The rate of Santa Rosa County tourism tax collections, while still on the rise from recent years, has slowed a bit during the past four months and caught the eye of area leisure industry leaders. Although the county’s share of lodging receipts, the so-called bed tax, totaled about $93,000 in February, the latest figures available, […]

Gallup resigns Tourist Development Council

Gallup resigns Tourist Development Council

Laurie Gallup, a high-profile member of the watchdog, volunteer Tourist Development Council has resigned, citing frustration with Santa Rosa’s government bureaucracy. A two-year veteran of the council, Gallup is the owner of Navarre Properties, which manages leisure guest accommodations in several condominiums on or near the beach. In her resignation letter sent to TDC Chairman […]

Meet Myrtle the Turtle

Meet Myrtle the Turtle

Santa Rosa County has a new ambassador that will call the Florida Welcome Center on I-10 home.  Her name is Myrtle the Turtle and she has her own hashtag (#myrtletheturtle). In a Tourist Development Council meeting April 5, Julie Morgan, tourist development director said that the possibilities that the turtle idea creates are endless.  The […]

County officials’ travel expenses reviewed

County officials’ travel expenses reviewed

The travel by certain Santa Rosa County officials at taxpayers’ expense to numerous trade shows, government conferences and industry seminars is raising questions about the value of some trips. From the North American Travel Journalists Convention in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Florida Association of Counties workshops in Ponte Vedra near Jacksonville, the receipts in county […]

Breach on the beach over ‘ragtag’ label

Breach on the beach over ‘ragtag’ label

Former Air Force pilot John Lewis, who flew in Korea and Vietnam, led fellow members of the now-resigned Navarre Beach Beautification Committee to protest County Commissioner Rob Williamson’s recent labeling of them as “ragtag” volunteers. “I’ve never been called ‘ragtag’ before,” said Lewis, a retired lieutenant colonel, speaking to the commission at its meeting Monday. […]

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 […]

Lynchard backs sharing tourist taxes with Gulf Breeze

Lynchard backs sharing tourist taxes with Gulf Breeze

The longtime sharing of county tourist tax dollars with the City of Gulf Breeze that was abruptly halted by Clerk of the Court Don Spencer last fall should be restarted, said Commission Chairman Lane Lynchard. Last October Spencer ordered a stop to providing Gulf Breeze with up to $134,000 a year in the taxes collected […]

Beach Beautification volunteer group quits

Beach Beautification volunteer group quits

Much of the foliage, trees and the entry signs to and from Navarre Beach are the product of a group of dedicated volunteers who are Beach Beautification Committee (BBC) members of the Navarre Beach Leaseholders and Residents Association (NBLRA.) Similar to many other committee projects in Navarre, the BBC existed to meet a need that […]

Grant request may inflate Tough Mudder’s benefit

Grant request may inflate Tough Mudder’s benefit

Every hotel and motel room in Santa Rosa County would have to be filled for an entire week in April by Tough Mudder enthusiasts to achieve the economic impact of the two-day event as estimated in a request for state funding filed by the Tourist Development Office. That’s because while there are 695 such rooms […]

Tough Mudder’s grant money reduced

Tough Mudder’s grant money reduced

The state grant funding sought by Santa Rosa County to promote Tough Mudder Inc.’s military-style endurance event in April will be limited to about one-third of the requested $30,000. “It’s based on the state funds we have available this year through Enterprise Florida and the other grant requests that we have,” said Lisa Osteen, director […]

County approves pier contract amendments

County approves pier contract amendments

At the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 14, the discussion with pier operator Coastal Concessions continued regarding making amendments to the pier management contract currently in place with the county. Coastal Concessions has been under the microscope recently because of overdue payment of pier admission fees to the county. Coastal Concessions […]

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 […]

County will seek more time to restore beach

County will seek more time to restore beach

The local hospitality industry’s quest to delay the Navarre Beach restoration project may get inadvertent support from Sheila Fitzgerald, director of Santa Rosa County special projects and grants. This move is unrelated to the Tourist Development Council’s recent plea to county commissioners that the $15 million project be pushed back to start after Labor Day […]

Tourism leaders seek delay in beach dredging

Tourism leaders seek delay in beach dredging

The cheapest price isn’t the best deal on the $15 million dredging project to renourish Navarre Beach this spring, area tourism leaders assert. They estimate the economic damage to the area’s leisure industry at $10 million, far more than Santa Rosa County Commissioners will save by recently accepting the lowest bid from Weeks Marine Inc., […]

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 […]

Sand Sculpting gives way to scrutinized dredging

Sand Sculpting gives way to scrutinized dredging

Planning for the sixth annual Navarre Beach Sand Sculpting Festival next April consumed considerable time and effort from Santa Rosa County tourism development leaders before the event was abruptly doomed last week by, of all things, sand. The scheduled April 15-16 festival boasted a budget of $55,000 in bed tax funding despite a spat between […]

Commissioner raises concerns with Tough Mudder

Commissioner raises concerns with Tough Mudder

Following doubts expressed by area tourism leaders on the value of the Tough Mudder Inc. military-style endurance event scheduled for next April, District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson is stepping in before Santa Rosa County signs a contract with the New York company. In a Dec. 3 email to Kate Fitzpatrick, a Tough Mudder senior director, […]