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Okaloosa County set to begin construction on a new multi-use path aimed at enhancing safety and recreation

Destin, Florida – Okaloosa County will celebrate the start of a significant new project aimed at enhancing local infrastructure and recreational opportunities. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 7 a.m. on Monday, July 8, 2024, at John Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island, located at 1550 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, marking the beginning of construction for a four-mile multi-use path that will connect two key bridges—Brooks Bridge and Marler Bridge—on Okaloosa Island, providing a safe and scenic route for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Enhancing Community Safety and Recreation

The proposed path will stretch approximately four miles, promoting not only safety but also leisure activities in the area. “The safety and well-being of our residents and visitors is a top priority and this new path will improve safety while also providing a quality recreational asset in the County,” stated Paul Mixon, Chairman of the Okaloosa County Board. He also commended the efforts of the county staff and Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel for their dedication to advancing this project.

Read also: Okaloosa County waters meet health standards, no water quality advisories issued

The path will be 12 feet wide, accommodating both cyclists and pedestrians comfortably. It is designed to offer unobstructed views of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach scenery, making it a perfect spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy the outdoors safely. The construction plan includes the stabilization of shoulders and parking areas along the south side of U.S. Highway 98, ensuring a durable and reliable path.

Community Vision and Funding

“This path has been a vision for many people who have been looking for a safe place to walk, bike, and exercise on Okaloosa Island,” remarked Carolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa County District 2 Commissioner. She highlighted the collaborative effort involving local residents and strategic partners such as Eglin Air Force Base which made this project feasible.

The construction of the path is being funded through multiple sources, including tourism revenues and a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Residents and visitors can look forward to the path’s completion and opening in early 2025.

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