DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — A project along Scenic HWY 98 to have more Gulf-front views is underway in Destin.

The City of Destin, the Board of Okaloosa County Commissioners and the Trust for Public Land joined together Friday morning to start demolishing property at the future Tarpon Beach public park.

Members of the public met at the 3310 Scenic HWY 98 location to watch the bulldozer take down an old townhome structure.

“This is just progress at work, this is 350 feet of public beach,” said Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner. “For Destin locals, this is a huge win, this will be more room for us to go to the beach. No competition with vendors or beach chair vendors, this is a huge local win that also gives great space for the visitors as well.”

City and community members were given golden hammers to commemorate the project before the machinery went to work.

“It’s a great day for us, anytime we allow a partnership to take place the way we did today and gain access to the beach,” said Mel Ponder, Okaloosa County Commission for District 5. “This is the second one we have done here with the City of Destin and it’s a great one, to have this building coming down to create this access is a great win. It’s going to be a beautiful park with beach access right there, we will have parking right at the front, the pavilion, and an accessway down to the beach for locals and tourists alike.”

Tarpon Beach is slated to be done by May 2024.

“This means opportunity for our locals and our visitors,” said Trey Goodwin, Okaloosa County Commissioner and Board Chairman. “Having more beach access is one of the top priorities that I hear from our citizens asking that we work on, and this is seeing that coming to be. One of the best benefits is you’ll be able to drive down old HWY 98 and see the Gulf of Mexico. What a unique opportunity that really hearkens back to days long gone.”

Chairman Goodwin said this project is the latest one in progress, but their mission to have more beach access is not over.

“This is one of the best projects that we’ve got on board right now but more are coming,” said Goodwin. “We are actively looking for more beach access opportunities both in Destin and Okaloosa Island as well because we want to enhance the ability to get folks out on the beach to enjoy that recreation and enjoy these amenities.”