Workshop provides updates on Rails to Trails and Marina Island projects

Local News

LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — Two projects five years in the making are front and center once again.

On Wednesday, city officials, developers and residents participated in a workshop to discuss Rails to Trails and the Marina Island Development.

In 2021, Lynn Haven officials secured $4.58 million from the Florida Department of Transportation for the Rails to Trails project.

New consultants are now involved in Marina Island and both projects are intertwined.

Even though Rails to Trails has secured the cash required to make the project a reality — two things must happen in order to keep that funding.

Marina Island must turn over the deeds to the land needed for the trails and Lynn Haven must sign the agreement with FDOT by June 30, 2022. If not, the funding goes elsewhere.

“I think the commission understands how important it is to, first of all, get the deeds signed over to the city and secondly sign the agreement so we can put that in FDOT’s hands, and then we can go out to bid and then we go out for construction,” said Lynn Haven City Manager Vickie Gainer.

The section of Rails to Trails north of 390 will lead into Marina Island. Marina Island has offered to pay for and construct this last portion of the Rails to Trails project themselves.

“It has to be a partnership,” Gainer said. “I think people have seen in the past that we have not had a partnership and one of our goals is to keep residents informed about what’s going on.”

Gainer said the commission is going to have to work hard and hold a lot of workshops in order to make Marina Island and Rails to Trails a reality.

There are so many different aspects that have held up many projects in the past it’s not been – maybe we have not communicated with our residents very well,” Gainer said.

Gainer said the most important aspect of these developments is public input.

She said she wants to make sure everyone is on the same page and feels comfortable with both projects.

Construction on Rails to Trails south of 390 is set to begin later this year.

There will be more workshops on Marina Island for people to learn more about the development.

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