Destin, Fla. - Destin City officials are turning an 8-year old tragedy, to their advantage. They broke ground today on a city park, funded in large part by BP Deepwater Horizon settlement money. As News 13's Peyton LoCicero tells us, the project will pay tribute to Destin's founding father.
One hundred and thirty four years after his death, legendary local, the late Captain Leonard Destin will be honored with a park in his name on the very land he grew up on.
"This was Leonard Destin's original homestead. This was where he came around the 1850's and built his home and raised his family and started Destin," shared Dewey Destin.
City officials, government leaders and true Destin locals gathered to watch history being made as they broke ground for the new park.
"After all, this is going to be a park that is mostly family-oriented and so it's nice to know that we are going to have another 170 years of family affairs and events here. I think Leonard would be very pleased with that," said Destin.
In 2015, the trust for public land bought this piece of property, with funding from the Deepwater Horizon settlement.
"We are working with the Department of Environmental Protection. This was a vision of theirs to create new water front parks along the Panhandle using settlement funds," said Kate Brown, The Trust for Public Land, Senior Project Manager.
The nearly $5 million construction project will transform the land into a park that reflects the importance of water to Destin.
"We will be donating the park to the City of Destin for permanent ownership. And with that, they get money to operate and maintain the park over a ten year period," explained Brown.
The park will be a gathering spot for the public, a place to fish, and an estuary for birds.
The goal is to have the park complete by the end of this year. The park is located on almost 4 acres of land on Calhoun Avenue, overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay near Crab Island.
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