FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Fort Walton Beach City Council spoke further about the future of the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds on Lewis Turner Blvd. Tuesday night.
Okaloosa County staff presented options to the city with their hopes for the city-owned land. The county commission board approved the presentation at their most recent meeting on Dec. 7.
- The County would purchase the City’s Fairgrounds Property.
- Hybrid – The City would acquire approximately 2.5 acres of the County’s Former Hospital Property and the County would acquire the net City Fairgrounds Property (19.88) plus pay the difference in valuations.
- Full Swap with the City and County Properties with a long-term holdover of the County’s Health Department.
County staff said they have the vision to create the fairgrounds as an alternative to the convention center on Okaloosa Island.
“Our goal is not to displace the events that are held there,” said County Administrator John Hofstad.
The property is estimated to be worth more than $4 million. The property and land is shown on the pictures below.
Councilman Travis Smith asked the county for transparency about when the discussion for this property came to light. Deputy administrator Craig Coffey said he has been working with city staff for years drafting ideas. The main reason the idea to sell or surplus the land came up was under the most recent city manager Michael Beedie, who recently resigned from the position.
The presentation Tuesday night was for information purposes. A discussion for the future of the site will be placed on a January agenda for council consideration.
The next city council meeting is set for Jan. 10.